Twitter issues new rules to curb violent threats and online misogyny

Twitter revised its policies to streamline the reporting of abuse, as well as beefing up staff to handle reports

Published August 5, 2013 1:38PM (EDT)

Twitter introduced new rules over the weekend to curb abuse targeted at users, a move prompted by recent threats made against British female journalists and other high-profile women. (Though misogyny on Twitter is as old as, well, Twitter itself.)

In addition to devoting more staff to handling abuse reports, Twitter announced it is introducing a one-click button to report threatening tweets, eliminating the need for users to go to Twitter's help center to fill out a separate form to report threatening messages.

“I personally apologise to the women who have experienced abuse on Twitter and for what they have gone through,” Tony Wang, Twitter’s general manager in the U.K., tweeted on Saturday, adding, “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 was compelled by public pressure to revise its policies after feminists like Caroline Criado-Perez went public with the rape and bomb threats they were receiving, an exposure tactic that has worked in the past to combat misogynistic trolling. 

Which is partly why a separate protest against Twitter misogyny, also staged this weekend, provoked such mixed reactions.

Feminist and high-profile Twitter user Caitlin Moran called for an all-day boycott of Twitter, under the tag #twittersilence, to protest against the abuse regularly hurled at female users.

While it was well-intentioned, a number of other women, including Criado-Perez, opted not to participate. In explaining why she wouldn't be taking part, Criado-Perez tweeted, "I choose 2 remain on twitter. I choose 2 #shoutback. And I choose not 2 stop even 4 a day."






By Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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Caitlin Moran Misogyny Sexism Twitter Women Women's Rights