The British arm of Twitter apologised yesterday to a group of high-profile women who have been threatened with death and rape on the micro-blogging site, and announced measures to make it easier to report abuse.
Twitter had come under pressure to react after a feminist campaigner, several female MPs and female journalists were targeted by users who hurled misogynistic abuse at them and in some cases made violent threats.
"I personally apologise to the women who have experienced abuse on Twitter and for what they have gone through," Tony Wang, general manager of Twitter UK, said on his own Twitter feed. "The abuse they've received is simply not acceptable. It's not acceptable in the real world, and it's not acceptable on Twitter."
Twitter UK said it was adding staff to help handle abuse reports. It also said an in-tweet "report abuse" button now available on the Twitter app for iPhones would be added to the Twitter website and to platforms used on other mobile devices.
The problem of abuse by so-called internet "trolls" has been front-page news in Britain since activist Caroline Criado-Perez was hit by a barrage of vitriolic tweets after successfully campaigning for novelist Jane Austen to appear on 10-pound notes.
Police arrested two men over rape threats against Criado-Perez. One of them was also suspected of making rape threats against opposition Labour legislator Stella Creasy, who backed the bank note campaign.
Days later, several high-profile female journalists received tweets from someone threatening to bomb their homes.