Twitter joke on 'destroying America' leads to two detained Brits

Leigh Van Byran and Emily Banting were on their way to Los Angeles from England. Instead of partying like rockstars in Hollywood, they ended up in the back of a truck full of illegal immigrants and Mexican drug dealers because of some seemingly nefarious tweets that they sent out. Watch out, tweeting can land you in jail.

Apparently, the U.S. Homeland Security officials who detained the two upon their landing thought the two Brits were serious threats and that they went to L.A. with the sole purpose of committing crimes.

Byran's tweet that raised the red alert was:

"free this week, for quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America?"

and Leigh's tweet was a quote from Family Guy (a friggin' cartoon):

"3 weeks today, we're totally in LA pissing people off on Hollywood Blvd and diggin' Marilyn Monroe up!

Detained for 12 hours, the two young adults had their baggage searched for spades and shovels, as they tried to explain that it was all a misunderstanding — a big joke.

Byran told The Daily Mail that by "destroy" he meant "get trashed and party." They just wanted to have fun in the U.S.

What's crazy isn't what the two Brits tweeted, but how they were treated. Thanks to the Associated Press, we know very well that federal agencies like the CIA is sifting through Twitter and Facebook messages to thwart terrorism, but for these social media "experts" to miss the mark so badly on this case and send the two visitors on a plane back home is a little frightening.

So, if I tweet that I'm going to dig Elvis or Michael Jackson's bones up, I'm going to land myself behind prison bars? And what about if I go search for Area 51? Send me packin' for sticking my nose in some desert? And since when was the U.S. looking out for threats to Marilyn Monroe's grave? I didn't know her bones were a national treasure, more important than real terrorists.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has some serious explaining to do.

The Daily Mail, via NPR

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