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Saturday, August 3, 2013

Twitter updates rules in clampdown on abusive behaviour

 
Screen-grab of Grace Dent's Twitter page, showing a retweet of the threat Columnist Grace Dent received a bomb threat on Twitter

Social networking site Twitter has updated its rules to help clamp down on abusive behaviour.

From next month an in-Tweet "report abuse" button - already available on some mobile devices - will be included on the main Twitter website and apps.

And extra staff have are now in place to handle abuse reports, Twitter said.

The move comes after police revealed they were investigating allegations by eight people of abuse or threatening behaviour on the site.

Scotland Yard said its e-crime unit was looking into the claims, three of which involve incidents outside London.

Three female journalists said they had been the subject of bomb threats on the site, while an MP and a campaigner received threats of rape.

The revelations sparked a backlash online, with a petition calling for Twitter to add a "report abuse" button to tweets attracting more than 120,000 signatures.

'Clear message'

In a message posted on its blog, Twitter's senior director for trust and safety, Del Harvey, and UK general manager Tony Wang, said the company had clarified its anti-harassment policy in light of feedback from customers.

They said: "It comes down to this: people deserve to feel safe on Twitter."

The company has clarified its guidance on abuse and spam - reiterating that users "may not engage in targeted abuse or harassment".

Ms Harvey and Mr Wang wrote in their blog: "We want people to feel safe on Twitter, and we want the Twitter rules to send a clear message to anyone who thought that such behaviour was, or could ever be, acceptable."

They said additional staff were being added to the teams that handle abuse reports and the company was working with the UK Safer Internet Centre, which promotes the safe and responsible use of technology.

"We are committed to making Twitter a safe place for our users," they said, adding: "We're here, and we're listening to you."

'Prevention measures'

Police have made two arrests in relation to Twitter rape threats against Labour MP Stella Creasy and campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez.

Steve White, of the Police Federation, said online abuse was "un-policeable" and social networking giants like Twitter should do more to tackle the problem.

He told BBC Breakfast: "The organisations that run these social media platforms probably need to take a long, hard look, they need to take some responsibility.

"It's much like when you go into a shop - there are prevention measures within shops, whether it be security guards or things locked away that you can't get to, which is going to prevent crime, and I think social media sites need to think long and hard about being able to prevent it from happening in the first place."


Source : bbc[dot]co[dot]uk

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