Police are investigating bomb threats made on social networking site Twitter against several female journalists.
Guardian columnist Hadley Freeman, Independent columnist Grace Dent and Time magazine’s Catherine Mayer all said they had been threatened.
Anonymous account-holders tweeted that bombs had been placed outside their homes, primed to explode at 22:47 BST.
Not a joke. Not amusing. Not “trash talk.” Not trolling. Not best dealt with by ignoring.
Freeman, who had earlier published a column entitled “how to use the internet without being a total loser”, reported the threats to the Metropolitan Police.
The anonymous author of the tweet had “failed to understand my column”, she wrote.
An investigation into the threats, which make the tweeters liable to be arrested, was then launched, a Met spokesman confirmed.
The anonymous accounts have since been suspended, but screen grabs of the tweets have been circulated on the social media site.
Ms Mayer said she had been tempted to ignore and delete the “not very credible-sounding” tweet.
But the police advised her, Ms Dent and Ms Freeman not to stay at their homes overnight and had searched her building for suspicious devices, she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
The police don’t consider it a joke, or trash talk, or trolling, or best ignored.
Ms Freeman remained home as she “did not think it was worth taking that seriously”.
She explained there was no rationale for why she was targeted, adding: “There’s some kind of assumption that you have done something, that you must have written something particularly controversial…
“My great crime is that I’m a woman with some small amount of public profile – that is enough it seems.”
Yes: that is enough. I’ve been told that very explicitly – if I don’t like being abused and threatened, then I should stop writing and talking online. That simple. I’ve been told I’m a “public figure” and as such simply have to expect abuse from strangers. I’ve been accused of drama, and rage-blogging, and victim-feminism, and talking about it for the blog hits. I deserve – I asked for – whatever they choose to dish out. That’s just how it is, I’m told.