Criado-Perez Twitter abuse case leads to arrest

A guy has been arrested over the deluge of threats aimed at Caroline Criado-Perez on Twitter.

The 21-year-old was detained earlier in the Manchester area on suspicion of
harassment offences.

Oh yes? Interesting.

Via her Twitter page on Sunday evening she said she was at a police station making a statement and that there were “many more threats to report”.

The Metropolitan Police said an allegation of “malicious communications” had been made to officers in Camden on Thursday.

An online petition set-up in response to the abuse called on Twitter to introduce a “report abuse” button and received thousands of signatures.

Labour said on Sunday that it had written to Twitter complaining that it had been “weak” to tell Ms Criado-Perez to take her complaints to the police.

“Of course it is right to report such abuse to the police,” shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper wrote.

“But social media platforms also have a responsibility for the platform they give users.”

Ms Cooper said Twitter should carry out a full review of its abuse and complaints policies.

Yes, it should.



  1. says

    The other problem is of course that once there are a few high profile arrests and something is actually done the committed assholes will move to proxy services. Will be impossible to trace the accounts then.

  2. Pen says

    This is in line with other similar decisions in Britain. I think it does send a signal about what is and isn’t acceptable. Surely one 21 year old didn’t create the whole deluge of threats though.

  3. Maureen Brian says

    Hang on, Pen. No-one’s been convicted of anything yet.

    There must be evidence of some sort or there would not have been an arrest and there is the suggestion – see the link – that this may have been a co-ordinated campaign.

    If that turns out to be true then, given enough evidence, we’d be dealing with a criminal conspiracy which English law has always tended to take very seriously indeed. It would also rob Mr 21 of the usual defences of “split second emotional reaction, officer” and “I had no idea what effect it would have.”

    Those classic excuses would also be removed by any evidence that he done such a thing before. We shall see in due course.

  4. Pen says

    #3 I know Maureen, and I think very often – not necessarily in this case – these things to just result in a police warning. I was going to mention for American readers who care at lot about the 1st amendment that in the worst case he’ll probably get fined 50 quid and publicly humiliated. In America his behaviour is unquestionably legal, in Britain it probably isn’t. But just the fact that there’s been an arrest sends a message to young and stupid potential copycats, at least I think so.

  5. Pen says

    I’m surprised and a bit disappointed that comments on this Guardian opinion piece have been turned off ‘for legal reasons’. Maybe it expected to draw a lot of rape threats? In the article, Tanya Gold expresses the view that Twitter misogynists should be shamed, not criminalised. I don’t think I agree with her, certainly not if we want consistency in British law enforcement. I’m also not at all sure the legal option to dealing with online rape threats is more moderate or less civilised than actions that genuinely shame the perpetrators. A law gives people fair warning of what is and isn’t acceptable and what the consequences will be for infringement. It attempts to enforce its rules unilaterally. The law of the jungle depends on how much energy a specific incident drums up and almost anything could happen for almost any level of offense. I know there’s a lot of opinions on this one and it would have been interesting to hear them.

  6. says

    Proxies don’t make anything impossible, Oolon. Just more complicated.

    It’s funny, really: not singling you out at all nor even saying this is quite what you’re thinking so much as what some of those harrassers might assume–and you’re right it’s tough right now–but I think people got this notion about this new medium that beyond merely being the wild west in terms of actual enforcement, it’s somehow fundamentally different than anything that’s ever been. We got digital switches and networks that spread wider than current law enforcement jurisdictions, therefore somehow everything changes, there are no consequences; this is the Matrix and nothing is real and I will make the rules, if any, what I want by sheer force of will…

    They might want to get this through their heads: it’s different, all right, and it’s like nothing ever been before, all right. Oh, but about the way it’s different…

    A major way is, actually: there’s records and logging and tracing and possibilities for surveillance like you’ve no damned idea. Think you got away with it? You sure, pal? See, maybe for now, but there’s still very probably a log somewhere, hon. Or several. Maybe you’re lucky enough that the person or persons most interested right now in ’em can’t lay hand to them, or the law’s all grey and gooey and it’s going to be red tape like mad and disorganization in putting it all together or getting you before a judge, but digital memories can be surprisingly persistent, and life is long…

    And maybe you figure hey, I did it from an internet cafe and paid cash… But it’s funny what you can put together with enough data, all the same…

    There’s long essays in this. And a lot of ramifications. But keeping it as simple as possible, it’s one of the very good reasons you should be fighting right now for a world you can live with, and laws, especially, that are actually just. Because just because you haven’t been called to account for where you may have run afoul of them yet isn’t much of a guarantee in this brave new world.

    Oh, and yeah, in the world I can live with, bullying, harassing, silencing sexist jerks go to jail,and those who say to hell with the dominant religion and otherwise treat their fellow humans decently go free. No blasphemy laws, and sleazeball self-styled ‘prophets’ in any era can be called the liars they obviously were and are freely, but mobbing and stalking and terrifying and making miserable a lone woman who demanded her simple human rights gets you a court date.

    Longer essays, like I said. And many complications therein. And this is in no way to be construed a criticism of anonymity and pseudonymity; for voices that have used them well and escaped around genuinely unjust orthodoxies that otherwise silenced them, I am grateful this has occasionally worked for them until now. But it does not change this underlying reality: digital networks can have startlingly persistent and detailed memories.

  7. says

    No blasphemy laws, and sleazeball self-styled ‘prophets’ in any era can be called the liars they obviously were and are freely, but mobbing and stalking and terrifying and making miserable a lone woman who demanded her simple human rights gets you a court date.


  8. Ullrich Fischer says

    Calling out a sleaze-bag or expressing disagreement with someone’s position is one thing, but threatening violence needs to be treated as the crime it is. I hope they throw the book at this creep and everyone else involved in this vile campaign.

  9. Maureen Brian says

    Update: Mr 21 is, as far as we know, still being questioned as at 16.57 BST.

    There’s also been a firm and very clear message from about as high you can get in the police – Chief Constable Andy Trotter, ACPO’s top communications bod – saying quite clearly that Twitter is not doing enough. Both Sheila Creasy MP and BBC are finding that Twitter just doesn’t want to talk to anyone. So there!

    Audio of all this is here – – running from approx 22.30 to 32.30 mins.

    And meanwhile in another part of the forest some fool called Oliver Rawlings decided to revive the campaign against Prof Mary Beard. He has now apologised.

  10. says

    Yes – I posted a screenshot of that on Facebook and meant to do it here, but forgot. Oliver Rawlings apologized because a third party offered to send Mary Beard the mailing address of Rawlings’s mother, whose first name he used.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *