NEWS Bomb threats on twitter require delicate decisions for Airlines

In the past week, there were 16 threats via Twitter, according to USA Today.

Bomb threats via social media have been around for a while, complicating the job of airline social media managers. Even threats that turn out to be a fake must be investigated as a precaution.

Today, American Airlines flight 1192 landed safely despite a tweet claiming the Islamic State had planted a bomb onboard.

Another plane was also affected by a bomb scare was United Airlines flight 223. It similarly landed without incident. The FBI is investigating, says NBC News.

JetBlue and Delta have faced similar bomb threats for multiple flights.

The trend started last April when a Dutch 14-year-old who has remained anonymous due to her age tweeted a threat at American Airlines:

“hello my name’s Ibrahim and I’m from Afghanistan. I’m part of Al Qaida and on June 1st I’m gonna do something really big bye.”

The airline had officials arrest her, despite her tweeted apologies. She was later released.

Since then, dozens of people have sent bomb scare tweets.

This past weekend, two Atlanta-bound flights were subject to bomb threats via Twitter, said the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The flights landed safely after being escorted by NORAD jets.

The Journal-Constitution says that a user called “King Zortic” tweeted to Southwest:

“A bomb was placed on SWA2492. It will be detonated at a random time of my choosing.”

A similar tweet was directed at the other flight.

A spokesman for Twitter says the company may disclose a user’s account information to law enforcement officials in response to a valid emergency request, but that it doesn’t release such information to airlines or other third-parties as a rule.

This policy can cause a delay in addressing hoax bomb scares. In light of the surge in threats, Twitter may be asked by airlines to do more to monitor and crack down on the threats.