Twitter Issues New Rules to Stop Rape and Death Threats Against Women

twitter, rape threats, death threats

The United Kingdom had enough of the disgusting and malicious threats against women in their country. Feminist Caroline Criado-Perez (pictured), Guardian columnist Hadley Freeman and Labour Party politician Stella Creasy have received Twitter messages, outlining malicious attacks from rape, death, and bomb threats. The petition was created on Change.org and Twitter has listened to the 120,000 names advising for it to change its policy. Twitter UK implemented a new “in-tweet” report button to immediately report abusive behavior from that specific tweet.

Tony Wang, the general manager of Twitter UK released a series of tweets in relation to the numerous threats against women on the social media platform

  • “Simply not acceptable”.
  • “I personally apologize to the women who have experienced abuse on Twitter and for what they have gone through.”
  • The abuse they’ve received is simply not acceptable. It’s not acceptable in the real world, and it’s not acceptable on Twitter.”
  • “There is more we can and will be doing to protect our users against abuse. That is our commitment.”

Users can expect to understand the new rules Twitter is releasing, by including, “You may not publish or post direct, specific threats of violence against others” and “You may not engage in targeted abuse or harassment. User abuse and technical abuse are not tolerated on Twitter.com, and may result in permanent suspension.”  The threats were forwarded to law enforcement agencies and currently two individuals are under arrest for their tweets, more to be forthcoming.

Two of the perpetrators, a 25-year-old-man and a 21-year-old-man (using man in very loose terms here) were held for questioning. To the general understanding, both have been released on bail. The three women who were spotlighted for these threats have spoken about feeling uneasy in their own homes. Criado-Perez and Creasy met with officials to discuss the litany of abusive messages they received, especially after Criado -Perez showed her support for Creasy, regarding keeping the female presence (Elizabeth Fry, Jane Austen) on banknotes.

Twitter is not escaping unscathed. The investigation has been launched and these three women represent thousands more who feel unprotected on a platform aimed to protect their level of communications. Criado-Perez spoke about how she reached for help from Twitter senior manager, Mark Luckie, and in response, he blocked her requests- after becoming aware of the incidents.

Kim Graham in the UK had enough of hearing about the threats and travesty against women in power in the UK. She took to Change.org and created a petition requesting signatures. Her opening begins:

For over three days, Caroline Criado-Perez, who campaigned to keep women on banknotes, has been targeted repeatedly with rape threats on Twitter. Caroline attempted to stir a response from Mark S. Luckie, Manager of Journalism and News on Twitter. His response was to lock down his account.

But abuse on Twitter is common; sadly too common. And it frequently goes ignored. We need Twitter to recognize that it’s current reporting system is below required standards. It currently requires users to search for details on how to report someone for abuse; a feature that should be available on each user’s page.

It is time Twitter took a zero tolerance policy on abuse, and learns to tell the difference between abuse and defence. Women standing up to abuse should not fear having their accounts cancelled because Twitter fails to see the issue at hand.

The report abuse button needs to be accompanied by Twitter reviewing the T&C on abusive behaviour to reflect an awareness of the complexity of violence against women, and the multiple oppressions women face

It’s time Twitter started protecting its users.

Over 120,000 people agreed. Many of the signers were disgusted by the lack of vigilance from Twitter, and were further disappointed by the time it took for the social media giant to respond. Twitter has, finally, rolled out new rules and implemented a report button. The investigation continues- because rape and death threats against women or anyone should never be blocked for response and should never be treated lightly.

Angelina Bouc

Sources 1, 2, 3

 

One Response to "Twitter Issues New Rules to Stop Rape and Death Threats Against Women"

  1. Gary Toth   August 3, 2013 at 11:10 am

    There is much perversion in this world and I can’t think of any of it that is constructive. Much of it is just offensive and annoying. Within that is a subset of perversion that is directly damaging to individual people. Twitter finally recognized it as way beyond offensive and annoying in that it actually causes extreme damage to a persons mental and emotional state and possibly bodily harm as well. So three cheers for Twitter for limiting this most destructive form of “Free Speech” in a seemingly very intelligent way. Time will tell how effective it is. I hope they can be open to make modifications if things aren’t working out as well as planned.

    Reply

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