The United States code defines terrorism as:
The Columbian Chemicals plant explosion was a hoax claiming an explosion at a chemical plant in Centerville, St. Mary Parish, Louisiana. On September 11, 2014, reports of an alleged explosion were sent to local residents via text messages and spread through various social media. Several reports claimed that the militant group ISIS had taken responsibility for the attack. St. Mary Parish officials claimed that the reports of an explosion were a hoax. A spokesperson for the company told reporters that the reports of an explosion were a hoax:
We have been informed by the community that a text message has been received by several individuals indicating a release of toxic gas from the Birla Carbon’s Columbian Chemicals Plant near Centerville, Louisiana. The content as stated by the text message is not true. There has been no release of such toxic gas, explosion or any other incident in our facility. We are not aware of the origin of this text message. Law enforcement authorities have been contacted and are following up on this matter.
The hoax was reported to have involved “dozens of fake accounts that posted hundreds of tweets for hours, targeting a list of figures precisely chosen to generate maximum attention. The perpetrators didn’t just doctor screenshots from CNN; they also created fully functional clones of the websites of Louisiana TV stations and newspapers.” It was one of “a wave of similar attacks” in the US during the second half of 2014 that used hoaxes (including fabricated ebola outbreaks and police shootings) in an attempt to create public panic or outrage.
In June 2015, the New York Times Magazine published an extensive article by Adrian Chen, claiming the hoax “was a highly coordinated disinformation campaign” and that the “virtual assault” was the work of the Internet Research Agency, a Russian institution with about 400 employees, that “industrialized the art of trolling”, specializing in nationalistic online propaganda, funded either by the Russian Government or a close ally.
Now, this is important because of the Internet Research Agency is currently the subject of an indictment by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for their actions in the interference of the 2016 Presidental Election.
The purpose of this hoax was to create public panic or outrage. It meets all the definitions of terrorism by the Russian agency.