The long arm of Twitter in the United Kingdom is tackling trolls on the social website. The British boss of Twitter has apologised to the group of women in the public eye who have received death threats and promises of rape on the microblogging site. They’ve also taken measures to ensure that these type of things don’t happen in future.
This new direction by Twitter follows a campaign of terror aimed at prominent female’s in the media and public eye. Caroline Criado-Perez received abuse over Jane Austen campaign; MP Stella Creasy was singled out when she expressed support for Perez; Mary Beard and MP Claire Perry have also received abuse and some of their trolls have been “unmasked” after an investigation.
Miss Perez, 29, a feminist campaigner, had been under remorseless attack from tweets that were threatening, abusive and misogynistic on Twitter after she convinced the Bank of England to put the novelist Jane Austen on the new £10 banknote.
Tweets that said, “I will find you,” from Johnny@beware0088 who continued to target Miss Criado-Perez with non-stop threats, insults and intimidation. Another tweet from Johnny@beware0088 said, “Come to geordieland, b***h.”
The above referenced Twitter messages are the least offensive of those received by the women in the United Kingdom.
The social web site has been under pressure to step in after the women who ranged from a feminist campaigner to members of parliament received hate filled tweets that included threats of violence.
Twitter UK has revealed that it will be adding extra staff to handle abuse reports from users. It also said that there is now “report abuse” button that is now available on Twitter for IPhones and that it will be added to other platforms as well.
Tony Wang, the general manager of Twitter UK tweeted:
The issue of Twitter trolls has dominated the news in the United Kingdom since the journalist Caroline Criado-Perez was attacked by an endless amount of nasty tweets when she won her campaign for Jane Austen’s face to appear on a 10 pound note.
Since Twitter UK made their announcement about tackling trolls, Tony Wang has been a very busy man on Twitter. Either explaining about the new abuse button or clarifying the new rules on abuse.
After the investigation into the abusive and threatening tweets, police have arrested two men after they made rape threats over Twitter to Ms Criado-Perez.
One of the men is also a suspect in rape threats against Labour MP Stella Creasy who supported Ms Criado-Perez’s Jane Austen banknote campaign.
In other separate incidents later in the week, several high-profile female journalists were threatened on Twitter with having their homes blown up and having everything destroyed. The London Metropolitan Police revealed on Friday that they were looking into allegations made by a total of eight people who claim to have been harassed, threatened or received malicious messages via the social networking site.
Public opinion has been against the trolls, but Twitter has come under fire for their poor reaction to the “trolling” over it’s feed. They’ve also been criticised for not reacting forcefully to stop the trolls.
Ms Criado-Perez released a statement in response to Tony Wang’s tweeted apology and said that she welcomed the new abuse controls announced by Twitter UK, but, said the they needed a permanent and complete reworking of their abuse program system.
She said, “The current process is lengthy, complicated and impossible to use if you’re under sustained attack like I have been. Right now, all the emphasis is on the victim, often under intense pressure, to report rather than for Twitter to track down the perpetrator and stop them.”
Twitter in the United Kingdom have taken steps to tackle the troll problem on their feed, but it sounds as though to some of the women affected by the unpleasant and frightening experience it’s been too long in coming.
By Michael Smith