The FBI arrested a man for allegedly sending a tweet with strobing animated GIF to ‘Newsweek’ reporter Kurt Eichenwald which caused a seizure.
A Twitter user has been charged with allegedly sending a tweet containing an animated GIF to a reporter, which caused him to have a seizure.
On December 15 of last year, Newsweek reporter Kurt Eichenwald (pictured above), who suffers from epilepsy, clicked on a tweet. By doing so, Eichenwald triggered a strobing image that read "You deserve a seizure for your post," which in turn triggered an immediate seizure in Eichenwald.
Now, as first reported by the New York Times, the FBI have arrested John Rayne Rivello, 29, and charged him in relation to Eichenwald's seizure. Rivello was arrested at his Maryland home, and has been charged with criminal cyberstalking with the intent to kill or cause bodily harm.
Rivello allegedly posted the image through a Twitter account by the name @jew_goldstein. The tweet was apparently sent to Eichenwald because of his staunch and vocal opposition of Donald Trump—Eichenwald was hit with it shortly after he had finished an appearance on Tucker Carlson Fox News show where he pulled out a massive binder with the title "Tucker Carlsons Falsehoods" and argued with the host.
After the seizure, Eichenwald's wife took over his Twitter account to say that the tweet caused the seizure and that police were contacted—both Eichenwald and his wife were roundly mocked for this post.
In a press release issued by the Department of Justice, it shows that further investigation of Rivello alleges that he had DM conversation with other users saying that "I hope this sends him into a seizure," "spammed this at him, let's see if he dies," and "I know he has epilepsy." The affidavit also showed that Rivello had researched epilepsy and had a screenshot of Eichenwald's Wikipedia page with his date of death edited to the day after he was triggered by the tweet.
If Rivello is found guilty of the charges he can face up to ten years in prison.
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