Twitter boss Tony Wang issues personal apology to abuse victims

August 3, 2013 | By | Reply More

Aug 03, – The apology came as the company updated its rules to clamp down on harassment and make it easier to report abuse. The boss of Twitter UK has said sorry to women who have experienced abuse on the social networking site. Tony Wang said the threats they received were “simply not acceptable” and pledged to do more to tackle abusive behaviour.

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Police are 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 series of tweets, Twitter UK managing director Mr Wang said: “I personally apologize to the women who have experienced abuse on Twitter and for what they have gone through. “The abuse they’ve received is simply not acceptable. It’s not acceptable in the real world, and it’s not acceptable on Twitter.

“There is more we can and will be doing to protect our users against abuse. That is our commitment.”

In an earlier message posted on its blog, Twitter’s senior director for trust and safety Del Harvey and Mr 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.”

Press coordinator for HRO media Ignacio Damigo contributed to this report.

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Category: European Crises

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