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Twitter cracks down on abuse, threats

4:03 AM, Aug 5, 2013   |    comments
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Twitter announced plans to crack down on abusive behavior in response to recent online threats against women in the United Kingdom.

Police in the U.K. are investigating rape threats made on Twitter against feminist Caroline Criado-Perez and Labour Party politician Stella Creasy, and bomb threats against several female journalists, including Guardian columnist Hadley Freeman, The Guardian reports.

A post on the U.K. Twitter blog mentioned plans to add additional staff to the teams that handle abuse reports and updates to the Twitter Rules.

An "in-tweet" report abuse button had been introduced in the Twitter app on Apple devices and the mobile website. Next month the button will also be available in the Android app and on Twitter.com.

More than 125,000 signed a petition on Change.org demanding that Twitter add the abuse-reporting button to tweets and adopt a zero tolerance policy on abuse.

"Abuse on Twitter is common; sadly, too common. And it frequently goes ignored," the petition reads.

"It comes down to this: People deserve to feel safe on Twitter," Del Harvey, senior director of trust and safety, and Tony Wang, Twitter's U.K. general manager posted to the U.K. Twitter blog. "Over the past week, we've been listening to your feedback on how we can improve our service. You told us that we need to make our rules clearer, simplify our abuse-reporting process, and promote the responsible use of Twitter."

In a series of tweets from his personal account, Wang says, "I personally apologize to the women who have experienced abuse on Twitter and for what they have gone through."

"The abuse they've received is simply not acceptable. It's not acceptable in the real world, and it's not acceptable on Twitter."

"There is more we can and will be doing to protect our users against abuse. That is our commitment."

Natalie DiBlasio, USA TODAY

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