A Minnesota man received a visit from the Secret Service and is reportedly under investigation for a Twitter post directed at the recently-launched account of President Barack Obama.
The @POTUS account broke records when it reached 1 million followers within five hours of being created Monday, but along with the followers came a torrent of abuse from some people on the social media site.
FOX 9 reports Twin Cities man Jeff Gullickson was one of several whose posts were highlighted by a New York Times piece about the negative response to Obama's account – and the Minneapolis field office of the Secret Service and Plymouth Police are now investigating him.
On Thursday, Gullickson tweeted he had received a visit from members of the Secret Service that morning, with the service confirming to FOX 9 a meeting had taken place.
Gullickson had shared with the @POTUS account an image of the President adapted from his 2008 election campaign, but with a noose around his neck and the word "hope" replaced with "rope." With the image he wrote: "@POTUS #arrestobama #treason we need ROPE FOR CHANGE we still hang for treason don't we?”
The Star Tribune notes he was "unapologetic" about the image he posted, responding to a tweet by radio host Montel Williams by saying: "why? It's a meme. Are you offended? You should be offended that a treasonous communist is president than my lil vote. Geez."
Tweets at the president
Gawker reports every tweet the @POTUS account receives will enter the White House archives.
The creation of the account has presented new challenges to the Secret Service, with the Washington Examiner reporting that tweets to the account are being closely monitored for any sign of credible threats towards the President.
Agency spokesman Brian Leary told the newspaper that "context and dangerousness" are taken into account when monitoring tweets. He also told the New York Times: "People have the right to free speech. We also have the right and an obligation to determine a person’s intent when they say something.”
Newser reports it took just 10 minutes for a racist tweet to be directed at the President following the launch of his Twitter page, while a study by paper shares research company Topsy of one, unspecified slur found that it had been directed at the President at least 150 times Monday.