Man Who Sent Allegedly "Seizure-Inducing" Tweet to Journalist Arrested by Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Dallas FBI on Friday arrested a man they believe sent a strobe-like Tweet to Newsweek journalist Kurt Eichenwald with the intention of triggering his epilepsy.
The suspect was identified by the Justice Department as John Rayne Rivello, 29, of Salisbury, Maryland.
On December 15, Newsweek senior writer and Vanity Fair contributor Kurt Eichenwald appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight where Carlson accused Eichenwald of being partisan in his reporting on Donald Trump during the presidential campaign.
Investigators found that Mr Rivello had sent messages to other Twitter users about Mr Eichenwald and a plan to attack him virtually, including one that read: "I hope this sends him into a seizure". Eichenwald said that he has received as many as 40 similar tweets from various Twitter handles after he announced he received the seizure-inducing strobing tweet.
"Upon viewing the flashing strobe image, the victim immediately suffered a seizure", according to a U.S. Department of Justice statement issued late Friday.
Authorities said Rivello's iCloud account contained a screenshot of a Wikipedia page for the victim, which had been altered to show a fake obituary with the date of death listed as December 16, 2016.
"After receiving the strobe image, Eichenwald's Twitter account sent out a tweet accusing someone with the [email protected]_goldstein" of sending him the.gif image.
Eichenwald tweeted that the man who "assaulted" him faces federal charges and is also expected to be indicted by the Dallas district attorney on different charges in the next few days. "Stop sending them", he wrote. It's what's called epileptogenic-something that triggers seizures. Some even sent more flashing light GIFs at Eichenwald even as he pressed charges and prepared a civil lawsuit against the unknown Twitter account. Fortunately, since I was standing, I simply dropped my iPad to the ground the second I realized what Mike had done. 'It triggers a physical effect'.
It's also worth noting that, according to the Epilepsy Foundation, only about 3 percent of people with epilepsy are prone to visually-induced seizures.
He had also researched epilepsy seizure triggers on the epilepsy.com website.
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