Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Man held in hostile Tweets probe

A campaign is urging Twitter to introduce a button to allow speedy reporting of abuse

A man has been arrested in connection with a barrage of hostile tweets to a feminist campaigner, including threats to rape and kill her.

Caroline Criado Perez faced a deluge of threats on Twitter over the course of more than a day after she successfully campaigned for a woman's picture to be put on a new bank note.

Scotland Yard said a 21-year-old has been arrested in Manchester on suspicion of harassment offences after officers in Camden, London, received a complaint of malicious communications on Thursday.

Twitter has faced calls to take faster and stronger action against online abuse in the wake of the incident.

A campaign in support of Ms Criado Perez, calling on Twitter to introduce a button to allow speedy reporting of abuse, has already received more than 12,500 signatures and she has received support from MPs and celebrities. There are also attempts being made to organise a boycott of the free social media platform on August 4.

Ms Criado Perez said: "It's sadly not unusual to get this kind of abuse but I've never seen it get as intense or aggressive as this. It's infuriating that the price you pay for standing up for women is 24 hours of rape threats. We are showing that by standing together we can make a real difference. We made the Bank of England change its mind, we can do the same with Twitter."

Ms Criado Perez, a freelance journalist, organised a campaign which included a petition signed by more than 35,500 people after the Bank of England decided to replace Elizabeth Fry with Winston Churchill on new £5 notes.

The move would have meant there were no women apart from the Queen on sterling banknotes. Her campaign was a success, with an announcement by the Bank last week that the author Jane Austen will feature on the new £10 when it is introduced in 2017.

Tony Wang, the general manager of Twitter UK, said that the company takes online abuse seriously. He tweeted: "We encourage users to report an account for violation of the Twitter rules by using one of our report forms. Also, we're testing ways to simplify reporting, e.g. within a Tweet by using the "Report Tweet" button in our iPhone app and on mobile web. We will suspend accounts that, once reported to us, are found to be in breach of our rules."

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper has written to Mr Wang criticising Twitter's response to the "disgraceful, appalling and unacceptable" comments made about Ms Criado Perez on the site.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz