A judge has sentenced a former Virginia Tech student to a year in jail for a Yik Yak post that appeared to warn of a mass shooting.
Tonia Moxley of the Roanoke Times reports that Kiung “Eddie” Moon admitted that he posted “…Another 4.16 moment is going to happen tomorrow. Just a warning” on the popular social networking service in April.
Moon, 22, was apparently referring to April 16, 2007, the date of the Virginia Tech shooting that left 33 dead and more than a dozen wounded. It was the deadliest lone-gunman mass shooting in U.S. history
Moxley writes that Moon blamed the posting "on smoking too much marijuana to calm his nerves before final exams," and that "his memory of the posting was hazy." He turned himself in to police after receiving emails about it, Moxley writes. Yik Yak retains the right to share information about posters' information with law enforcement when necessary.
In exchange for a plea agreement, Moon received a suspended sentence and will only serve one month in jail.
Last month, a Florida college student was expelled over a Yik Yak post for posting similar language about a threat that the student said had been misinterpreted.
Last fall, 11 different students were charged with making threats on Yik Yak. The trend has led to a wave of Yik Yak bans (or attempts at such) on college campuses.
In a New York Times piece last year, the app's founders said they were unprepared for the app to be used in this way, and that they now add filters so that certain keywords, like “Jewish,” or “bomb,” prompt this message: “Pump the brakes, this yak may contain threatening language. Now it’s probably nothing and you’re probably an awesome person but just know that Yik Yak and law enforcement take threats seriously. So you tell us, is this yak cool to post?”
Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.