Twitter U.K. cracks down after threats against women

Posted on: 1:25 pm, August 4, 2013, by and , updated on: 11:54am, August 4, 2013

Twitter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Twitter is cracking down on abusive behavior on its site in response to recent threats against high-profile women in the United Kingdom.

There has been a lot of pressure on the social networking site to increase these measures after several female members of parliament and female journalists were the targets of misogynistic, bomb and rape threats.

Twitter’s U.K. arm announced Saturday that it updated its rules section to clarify that abusive behavior is not tolerated.

In a blog post, Twitter reiterated that an in-tweet report button is available on Apple devices, so that users can report abusive behavior directly from a tweet rather than going through the help center. This button will be available for Androids and on Twitter.com next month.

Twitter also said that it is adding more staff to handle abuse reports, and will use promoted tweets to bring more attention to the issue.

The calls for Twitter to take action grew particularly loud in the wake of hateful tweets from Twitter “trolls” against British activist Caroline Criado-Perez, who had successfully campaigned to get a woman on British bank notes. The Bank of England announced that novelist Jane Austen’s face will appear on £10 notes in its next design update.

British member of parliament Stella Creasy was also threatened after she voiced support for Criado-Perez. Some female journalists also received bomb threats via Twitter messages.

After the Twitter attacks, more than 126,000 people signed a Change.Org petition calling on the site to take a zero tolerance policy on abuse and make it easier for users to report incidents.

“We need Twitter to recognize that it’s current reporting system is below required standards,” the petition said. “Women standing up to abuse should not fear having their accounts canceled because Twitter fails to see the issue at hand.”

Twitter responded by saying it has been listening to the feedback over the last week on how it can make rules clear and make reporting abuse easier.