After A U.K. Activist Was Bombarded With Rape And Death Threats, Twitter Promises A Better 'Report Abuse' Button

Caroline Criado-PerezCaroline Criado-Perez

Twitter on Monday said it will soon add a “report abuse” button to individual tweets. The company had come under fire after an activist complained about an outpouring of rape and death tweets over the weekend.

It all began when Caroline Criado-Perez (@CCriadoPerez) made news last week. She successfully lead an effort to get Jane Austen pictured on the £10 bank note. Austen will be featured on the bill as of 2017.

Shortly after she appeared on news reports discussing the new Jane Austen bill, she started getting “up to 50 rape threats an hour” on Twitter, she told the Huffington Post’s Jessica Elgot.

Criado-Perez went to Twitter to get help in stopping the threats and was “disgusted” by the way Twitter responded, she said.

“They were first contacted on Thursday, but it’s taken them until Monday to set up a meeting with me,” she told the Huffington Post’s Jessica Elgot.

Criado-Perez also went to the police and on Monday a 21-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the threats, reports the BBC.

But because the situation was widely reported in the U.K., people wanted Twitter to take action, too. Nearly 66,000 people signed a petition on asking Twitter to add a “report abuse” to individual Tweets.

Twitter already has this feature on its iPhone app and its mobile website, it says. Beyond that, users can report an abusive Twitter user account via Twitter’s website, which is not as easy to use as a “report abuse” button on an individual tweet.

On Monday, Twitter promised to make the button available to more Twitter users:

“We are not blind to the reality that there will always be people using Twitter in ways that are abusive and may harm others,” Del Harvey, Senior Director, Trust & Safety wrote in a blog post. “Three weeks ago, we rolled out the ability to file reports from an individual Tweet on our iPhone app and the mobile version of our site, and we plan to bring this functionality to Android and desktop web users.”

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