Tony Wang of Twitter UK issued an apology for the harassment yesterday.
Twitter’s UK boss Tony Wang and senior director Del Harvey have apologized profusely to Caroline Criado-Perez, Stella Creasey and the leagues of other women who have received tweets that threaten death or rape in a response to their activism — including a handful of female journalists who have received bomb threats.
And now, the changes: Wang says that an in-tweet “report abuse” button was in the latest version of Twitter for Apple smartphones, and from next month on it will be available on Twitter.com and Android phones — in other words, users don’t have to use the “Help” page to report abuse. The Twitter Rules page has also been updated to reflect their no-abuse policy.
And, one hopes, the rules themselves have also been updated to reflect their no-abuse policy, so that people who report genuine abuse will no longer get messages saying this here abuse doesn’t violate Twitter rules so you’re just going to have to suck it up.
Anyway, hours after the apologies, Mary Beard received a bomb threat.
The classicist and TV presenter Mary Beard has been sent a bomb threat on Twitter hours after the UK boss of the social networking site apologised to women who have experienced abuse.
Prof Beard, who has faced abuse on Twitter previously, told the BBC she had reported the new message to police.
It used similar wording to a tweet sent earlier to a number of women, some of whom have also received rape threats.
That’s not good.
Prof Beard told BBC Radio 5 live: “I think it is scary and it has got to stop.
“To be honest I didn’t actually intellectually feel I was in danger but I thought I was being harassed and I thought I was being harassed in a particularly unpleasant way.”
Which is what the people who send such tweets want the recipients to feel. They want us to feel like the objects of hostile, potentially violent attention and rage.