Twitter targets online abuse with support for UK prosecutors

Twitter has long-battled trolls and after launching various tools to help combat abuse, the social network is lending its support to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in the UK.

The social network is to work with prosecutors to provide training that will help the CPS to fight revenge porn, stalking and other forms of online abuse.

The move comes after a marked increase in the use of social media to perpetrate attacks on individuals, particularly women. But while levels of technical nous have generally increased, legal services have been slow to keep up with the latest changes. With new guidelines set to be published covering the persecution of women through social media, prosecutors are ready to call on Twitter's experience.

The popularity of social networks such as Twitter has made it easier than ever for abusers to target their victims with very little effort. Speaking to the Guardian, chief crown prosecutor Jenny Hopkins said: "Social media is increasingly being used as a tool against women and I think it is really positive that Twitter is going to be training our lawyers in the months ahead".

In what appears to be an expression of support for Facebook's real name policy, Alison Saunders, director of public prosecutions has suggested that in some instances it could be a criminal offense to have multiple fake profiles. She said: "Worryingly, we have seen an increase in the use of cyber-enabled crime in cases related to violence against women and girls, including domestic abuse.

"Offenders can mistakenly think that, by using false online profiles and creating websites under a false name, their offences are untraceable. Thankfully, this is not the case and an online footprint will be left by the offender."

Photo credit: bahri altay / Shutterstock