More calls for Twitter to review abuse procedures as police investigate bomb threats against female journalists

Several female journalists have received bomb threats on Twitter, prompting the police to launch an investigation.

The Guardian's Hadley Freeman, the Independent's Grace Dent and Time magazine's Catherine Mayer were the three people targeted.

Anonymous Twitter users tweeted that bombs had been placed outside the victims' houses were scheduled to detonate at 22.47 BST.

Dent, who called the threats "a new low," took a screenshot of one of the messages, which read, "A BOMB HAS BEEN PLACED OUTSIDE YOUR HOME. IT WILL GO OFF AT EXACTLY 10.47PM ON A TIMER AND TRIGGER DESTROYING EVERYTHING."

The Metropolitan Police advised Freeman, Dent and Mayer to stay away from their homes overnight, and has since launched a formal investigation into the threats.

Mayer said she had been tempted to delete the message when she received it.

Freeman admitted she did not leave her home because she "did not think it was worth taking that seriously," but called for Twitter to improve the moderation of its site.

"Threatening to bomb and rape people is illegal," she said. "We need to apply the law in the same way as we do in the real world. There should be a button to report abuse more easily. Twitter makes millions – they can afford some moderators."

Last week, Twitter user Caroline Criado-Perez was subject to repeated rape threats on the site. A 21-year-old man from Manchester was subsequently arrested in connection with the incident.

A petition calling for Twitter to implement a 'Report Abuse' button on its website was established by social media users in response to Criado-Perez's ordeal. It has, so far, attracted over 110,000 signatures.

Image credit: Flickr (William Hook)