Swatted Over a Twitter Handle

We discuss swatting: calling in false law enforcement emergencies on one's online enemies.



In the last decade, there have been several cases of people who have been targeted for their “special” social media handles: high value handles that are very short or otherwise desirable. If you enjoy our content, please click here to subscribe.

At least two persons lost their lives after SWAT teams were sent to their homes under false pretenses. Innocent people like Mark Herring, a 60 year-old family man, who died of a heart attack after being swatted over his Twitter handle @Tennessee. Andrew Finch, a 28-year-old father, got swatted in 2017 after an online Call of Duty dispute between two others. He was killed by police on his front porch. This episode focuses on their stories and the ways in which laws have changed regarding online behavior. 1, 2, 3

According to swatting victim @jw, the ordeal starts with constant DMs, comments and phone calls, escalates to pizza deliveries not ordered by the victim and culminates with militarized police sent to their homes.

We also discuss Neal's incident with the Little Rock SWAT team, after his bravely drunk neighbors confronted burglars to try and protect the sanctity of his plasma TV, and in the process managed to attract every cop in Little Rock to his house. We also discuss the swatting cases of former Washginton Post tech writer Brian Krebs and Wired Magazine reporter Mat Honan. 4, 5, 6

Lastly, we introduce the publishing platform we are open sourcing this week! Rent Free Media allows anyone to publish podcasts, videos, or any other digital content, including support for paid subscribers via Stripe. We hope this encourages people to take ownership of their content and stop using corporate publishers such as Patreon and Apple Podcasts that expect anywhere from 18% to 30% of their gross revenue for hosting sub-100 megabyte podcast episodes.

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