Following an apparent anonymous threat of gun violence against Twitch, staff were asked to work from home while police performed an investigation. The San Francisco Police Department responded to the organization’s headquarters today following the threat.
Speaking to Business Insider earlier today, a representative at Twitch stated:
"We were made aware of a threat against our San Francisco HQ on Tuesday, and have been working directly with law enforcement as they investigate. The safety and security of our employees is our top priority, and we are focused on ensuring this is resolved quickly and safely."
The mention of a shooting threat was not confirmed officially at first, but was discussed by employees across social-media. By the afternoon, the SFPD indicated that there was no active threat at the organization. The issue has now been referred to the SFPD’s special investigations department.
At the moment, there is no update on the credibility of the threat, however in light of recent events, with the United States experiencing two mass shooting this week alone in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, which left a combined total of 31 people dead and more injured, there seems no reason for anyone to take chances.
Violence against technological organizations is also not unheard of. On April 3, 2018, 38-year-old Nasim Najafi Aghdam entered the headquarters of YouTube in San Bruno, California, and opened fire with a 9mm caliber semi-automatic pistol. After wounding three individuals, she turned the weapon on herself, committing suicide.
Following the two recent mass-shootings, President Trump indicated that mental illness and video games contributed to the problem of gun violence. We wonder then if the threat was made in connection to his statement. On the one hand, Twitch does not actually develop or publish any video games of its own. On the other hand, Twitch is currently the most popular streaming site for video games, drawing in large numbers of viewers daily.
Data from numerous studies over years does not support the notion that video games cause violent crimes, however, that does not stop people from rattling it off as if it were a known fact, which could have spurred someone to action with this threat sent by Twitter.
Given how terrible and unexpected that situation was, this is likely to remain an ongoing investigation to avoid any further tragedies. The best-case scenario would be for this all to have been a hoax made in poor taste rather than a serious threat.