1st August 2013
Abuse posted on Twitter are again in the news as police investigate bomb threats made against several female journalists.
Guardian columnist Hadley Freeman, Independent columnist Grace Dent and Time magazine's Catherine Mayer have all allegedly been targeted, following rape threats against MP Stella Creasy and feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez. A doctoral student also received a bomb threat as did a US-based social media manager, but Washington DC police said her house was safe.
Anonymous account holders tweeted that bombs had been placed outside the journalists' homes at a certain time. The accounts have subsequently been suspended, but not before screen grabs of the tweets had been retweeted.
Hadley Freeman, had earlier published an article on "how to use the internet without being a total loser". She commented that the offending tweeter had failed to understand the column. Metropolitan Police advised her not to stay in her home overnight. She commented: "Threatening to bomb and rape people is illegal. We need to apply the law in the same way online 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."
Catherine Mayer admitted that the threat made to her did not sound very credible.
Pressure is mounting on Twitter from users and the government to do more to prevent such abuse. A petition has attracted 100,000 signatures.