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Twitter shares data with police after subpoena in Mike Tyson Broadway show threat case

After being subpoenaed by the New York Police Department, Twitter has handed over information about a user’s account to help authorities investigate a series of threats aimed at a Broadway theatre where former professional boxer Mike Tyson is staging a one-man show.

The social network’s eventual compliance came three days after it refused to grant police an emergency request for details, including registration information and an associated IP address, about the account holder, who reportedly threatened to execute a “mass murder” similar to the one that took place at an Aurora, Colorado movie theatre last month, police spokesperson Paul J. Browne said.

After investigators sent in a request, Twitter wrote back, refusing to grant access to any account details.

“We appreciate the timeliness and sensitivity of this matter, and have reviewed the reported Twitter account. While we do invoke emergency-disclosure procedures when it appears that a threat is present, specific and immediate, this does not appear to fall under those strict parameters as per our policies,” the company wrote in an email.

But police officials, concerned about the seriousness of the threats and looking to identify the origin of the tweets, asked a Manhattan district attorney to force Twitter to comply with requests for access to the account’s registration information. A court order was then handed down and Twitter eventually complied. Police were given new information from the social network that will be used in their ongoing investigation.

The Twitter user in question posted a series of disturbing tweets, including: “I’m serious, people are gonna die like Aurora”; “I might just shoot up this theater in New York”; “I know they leave their exit doors unlocked”; “I got 600 people on my hit list and that’s gonna be a mass murder for real.”

Police investigators have not revealed whether they have managed to track down the person responsible for the tweets, but have said they have beefed up security at the theatre as a precaution.

Twitter and other social media outlets are under increasing scrutiny by law enforcement officials. Last week, several people were held by police after sending abusive tweets to Olympic diver Tom Daley.