The FBI is no stranger to using digital technology to prevent crimes, think pre-crimes units — it’s real and it’s here. Now they’re targeting social media to restore order. Everyday a new celebrity sends a tone deaf post on social media that shatters their public image and brand. Social media is a boiling pot of controversial posts waiting to go viral, and its has life-threatening consequences. In the wake of this, the Bureau has responded by launching a #ThinkBeforeYouPost online campaign, urging people on social media to tread carefully with their thoughts and words. In the last three weeks alone we’ve seen public figures from Hip-Hop artists to NBA general managers to politicians to video game stores rack up self-inflicted wounds that jeopardizes their careers.
Let’s examine, first there was Roseanne Barr who posted a racist tweet comparing former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett to apes. Barr tweeted if the “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.” Her tweet received a firestorm of backlash and her show was instantly canceled by ABC hours later as a result.
We’ve also seen a shocking development in the NBA that lead to the “resignation” (the gentlemen courtesy of saying he was fired) of Philadelphia 76ers GM Bryan Colangelo, because his wife created secret burner accounts on Twitter. Colangelo’s wife allegedly leaked private information on 76ers players, and criticised the performance of several players and former 76ers GM Sam Hinkie. Now, her husband will likely never be a GM in the NBA ever again.
The hottest beef yet, however, comes from hood prodigies turned Rap millionaires, Chief Keef and Tekashi 6ix9ine. Two gunmen shot at Keef earlier this month as he walked out his NY hotel. Rumors instantly surfaced online that 6ix9ine’s crew executed the missed hit, but 6ix9ine has denied all accusations he was involved. Yet the Brooklyn rapper continues to taunt Keef on instagram and troll him during his European tour that hits the road this week. The bad blood between the two comes on the heels of Drake and Pusha T exchanging blows, and 50 Cent reviving his decade-long beef with Ja Rule, Jim Jones and anyone else who gets in his way.
And just this past weekend, Gamestop’s official twitter account posted a disturbing and dark attempt at a domestic violence joke. The account was tweeting about the new NFL Madden 19 video game when a fan asked whether the game would have a “battle royale” game mode. Gamestop responded, “If it does — we got dibs on Ray Rice.” In March 2014 a graphic video went viral of Rice assaulting his then-fiancee and dragging her unconscious body out of a hotel elevator.
The examples don’t stop there either. Hope Carpenter, wife of Megachurch Pastor Ron Carpenter, received heavy backlash for her Facebook post criticising NFL players for kneeling, saying “[Black athletes] should stop thinking about it from your history or race” and admit that “our country is not yo blame!” She continued, “This will not fix racism! Duh!!! Only Jesus!” Hope never issued a public apology for her post, only her husband did.
This FBI crusade resembles similar actions from police and school districts nationwide over the issue of school threats, including the “if you see something, say something” announcements. “We are all trying to do the same thing,” said FBI spokeswoman Davene Butler. “We want to have people be aware we are looking at this and are taking it seriously… Everybody is looking for it.”
As part of the campaign, billboards will be posted in some areas of the country that highlight the #ThinkBeforeYouPost message, a video on the campaign has been posted on YouTube and a FBI podcast explores the topic. “Early intervention can prevent a situation from escalating by identifying, assessing, and managing the threat. Remember, if you see something, say something. Threats are not a joke, so think before you post,” the Bureau stresses in a statement regarding their new movement.
The FBI implores that anyone with any information regarding suspicious activity or fatal threats contact their local law enforcement ASAP. School shootings have continued to be a tragically normal occurrence in the U.S., and after the Parkland school shooting in Florida that left 17 people dead, the agency says they saw an influx of threats.
“If there is any reason to believe the safety of others is at risk, we ask that the public immediately reach out to their local police department by calling 911, or contact the FBI via tips.fbi.gov or over the phone (1-800-CALL-FBI),” the FBI said.
In today’s digital climate, one reckless post can lead to an avalanche of bad PR that spirals someone’s life down the drain. PSA announcement to rappers everywhere, be careful what you post online, because now the feds are watching and they will take action — just ask 50 Cent, who posted an instagram picture of NYPD deputy Inspector Emmanuel Gonzalez with a caption “Get the strap,” that lead to an investigation into the NY rapper.
The agency’s effort to prevent this, dubbed #ThinkBeforeYouPost, reminds would-be pranksters, gang bangers, terrorist and others that threats are not a joke and could result in federal or state charges. If convicted, people making hoax threats could face up to five years in prison. The FBI aims to prevent crimes — now they’re aiming to be the voice of reason America needs.
By: Isaac Colindres