Criminal Charges for False Rumors About Hurricane

@ComfortablySmug may not be laughing since New York City Councilman Peter Vallone is pushing for criminal charges for spreading false information about Hurricane Sandy. Shashank Tripathi, who owns the Twitter handle, has since resigned as campaign manager for a congressional candidate. Tripathi also was a former assistant district attorney in Astoria, Queens.

Tripathi's tweets included false and accurate information, a mix that Vallone says is dangerous because it gives more legitimacy to the falsehoods.

@Comfortablysmug tweets

Although Vallone admits this is a difficult case to prove, he's hoping it will deter similar behavior in the future. At a minimum, the criticism inspired Tripathi to issue this apology:

@Comfortablysmug apology
Tweets image source.

Discussion Starters:

  • What's your view of Tripathi's tweets: harmless fun, potentially dangerous, or something else?
  • Is the councilman taking the right approach in trying to press charges? What, if any, other consequences should Tripathi face?