Dallas-based Newsweek reporter seeks ID of Twitter user after seizure

CLAUDIA LAUER, Associated Press

DALLAS (AP) — A Newsweek reporter who has epilepsy is seeking information from Twitter in his effort to find out the identity of a person he says sent him an image intended to trigger a seizure.

The image in question — which included a strobe effect and the words, “You deserve a seizure for your posts” — was apparently sent in response to Kurt Eichenwald’s outspoken criticism of President-elect Donald Trump. Eichenwald said in court documents that the image effectively triggered a seizure.

Eichenwald posted a signed copy of a Dallas County District Court order to Twitter on Tuesday that allows him to depose Twitter executives and orders the company to preserve any information or documents regarding the person who sent the image. Eichenwald wrote that “Twitter agreed to an expedited order.”

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A Twitter representative said via email that the company does not comment on individual accounts or investigations. Guidelines for law enforcement listed on the company’s website include a requirement for a court order or subpoena before it releases user information.

A clerk for District Court Judge Bonnie Lee Goldstein, whose signature appears on the order, said the office had not received a copy of the signed order as of Tuesday morning. Eichenwald filed his request for the deposition on Monday.

That deposition request says Twitter suspended the account of @jew_goldstein “upon learning of the assault.” The sender had identified him or herself with the alias Ari Goldstein, the name of a character from the HBO television show “Entourage.”

The sender “succeeded in his effort to use Twitter as a means of committing assault, causing Petitioner to have a seizure which led to personal injury,” Eichenwald’s attorneys wrote.

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Eichenwald’s attorney didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment Tuesday.

Eichenwald told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that he has received numerous copycat strobe messages from “people who identify themselves as Trump supporters” and that he is reporting each of them to Twitter to ask that their accounts be suspended.

“It is amazing to me that simply because I am a political reporter, simply because I write about Donald Trump that we have become so sick and twisted in this country that people think they have the right and obligation to inflict potentially very serious injury,” he said.

Twitter’s transparency report shows more than 2,500 requests for user information were made regarding criminal allegations in the United States in the first six months of this year. The company released some information in 82 percent of those requests, according to the report.