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30,000 demand Twitter improves abuse policy

Social media users are calling for Twitter to make it easier to report abuse after a man was arrested for repeatedly threatening to rape a user of the site.

A petition signed by 30,000 people is calling for the social networking site to implement a system for flagging up abuse that would include a ‘report abuse’ button, making it easier to notify the site.

The calls come after many criticised the speed with which Twitter reacted to the abuse faced by Caroline Criado-Perez, a feminist campaigner, with one man arrested over the weekend for repeatedly threatening to rape her.

"Despite the scale and seriousness of these threats, the official response from Twitter continues to be extremely weak – simply directing Caroline away from Twitter towards the police, and, belatedly, directing users to abuse-reporting forms on Twitter,” Yvette Cooper, shadow home secretary, wrote in a letter to Tony Wang, general manager of Twitter UK.

Cooper went on to describe the site’s response as “inadequate” and called for the site to “carry out a full review” of its abusive behaviour policies.

Wang made a promise to shut down any account that is in breach of its rules and said that they “take online abuse seriously”.

The latest trolling incident comes after high-profile cases in 2012 involving former footballers Stan Collymore (opens in new tab) and Fabrice Muamba, with the troll in the Muamba case jailed for 56 days (opens in new tab) as a result of the abuse.

In the current case, Metropolitan Police made a statement that it had acted in conjunction with officers in Manchester to arrest a 21-year-old man in connection with the abuse.

Criado-Perez, the latest to suffer at the hands of trolls, tweeted (opens in new tab) that she has “many more threats” to report to the police.

Online abuse of Criado-Perez started after she successfully campaigned for the image of a woman to be put on a new banknote.

Jamie Hinks

Jamie is a freelance writer with over eight years experience writing for online audiences about technology and other topics. In his time writing for ITProPortal he wrote daily news stories covering the IT industry and the worldwide technology market, as well as features that covered every part of the IT market, from the latest start ups to multinational companies and everything encompassed by the IT sector. He has also written tech content for our sister publication, TechRadar Pro. Jamie has since moved into sports betting content and is Content Manager at Betbull.