Twitter Makes It Easier to Report Abusive Users

Twitter Inc.’s U.K. general manager Tony Wang has apologized to women who have been harassed on the short-messaging website following complaints about violent threats toward high-profile female users.

Twitter has added an in-Tweet report button, to make it easier for users to report abusive behavior, and updated its rules about harassment after female members of Parliament, received threats from users of the short messaging service.

Tony Wang, the general manager for Twitter in the U.K., used his account to apologize to women who have been harassed on the website. Twitter said it may permanently suspend users who threaten others or engage in targeted abuse.

“I personally apologize to the women who have experienced abuse on Twitter and for what they have gone through,” Wang said. “The abuse they’ve received is simply not acceptable. It’s not acceptable in the real world, and it’s not acceptable on Twitter.”

MP Stella Creasy reported abusive Twitter messages, including a rape threat, to police on July 29. MP Claire Perry and journalist Caroline Criado-Perez, who campaigned to get author Jane Austen’s image printed on a new bank note, also complained about sexual abuse online. Criado-Perez said on her Twitter account today that she also had received an e-mail with an apology from Wang.

A 21-year-old man was arrested in the Manchester area on suspicion of harassment and released on bail earlier this week, according to London’s Metropolitan police.

Lawmakers may call officials from Twitter to testify about the abusive postings, John Whittingdale, chairman of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said in an interview with BBC Radio. The committee has already decided to hold an inquiry into abuse online, he said.

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