Twitter hands down new rules to beat abusive talk

LONDON — Twitter is handing down new rules to control abusive language, the company said Saturday, a move which follows a barrage of nasty, harassing, and threatening messages directed at high-profile female users of the microblogging site.

In a message posted to its website, Twitter says it is introducing a one-click button to report abuse and updating its rules to clarify that it will not tolerate abusive behavior.

The one-click button means that users will not have to navigate to Twitter’s help center in order to fill out an abuse form — a process some said was too cumbersome to deal with a mass of angry messages — while the new rules includes a stricture against “targeted abuse,” something which could include slamming a single user with messages from multiple accounts, creating an account purely to harass someone, or making threats.

The company also promised to devote more staff to weed out offending messages.

In a series of statements posted to Twitter, General Manager Tony Wang issued his own apology “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,” he said. “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.”

The relative anonymity of the Internet means it has long been hard to police abusive or threatening speech, but the issue recently received attention in Britain after several women went public about the sexually explicit and often luridly violent abuse they receive from online bullies, often called trolls.

Many argue that trolls are an annoyance which should just be ignored, but the catalogue of graphic threats made public by the women involved have ignited a national debate over the impunity of those spewing the hatred online.

Wang said in a tweet that the new anti-abuse policy will apply worldwide.

More in Local News

Elderly couple escape serious injuries in crash with train

The driver drove down tracks instead of a road, hitting a slow-moving train near Stanwood.

Officials ID man shot and killed in apparent Everett robbery

Police believe the victim may have known the shooter, who drove away before the officers arrived.

Man, 60, in critical condition after Bothell crash

Police believe the driver may have been speeding when he hit a rock wall.

Missing Marysville woman found safe out of state

A Marysville senior who was reported missing in March has… Continue reading

FBI operation arrests 3 linked to exploitation of 32 women

The sting focused on Everett and other cities in Snohomish, King, Pierce, Skagit and Spokane counties.

Man arrested in Monroe Walmart robbery; second suspect flees

The pair fled in a stolen Mitsubishi Lancer with a distinctive green spray paint job.

Fugitive convict, missing more than a year, surrenders

Charles Coggins, 60, turned himself in Monday. He could now spend up to 30 days behind bars.

Former homeless camp needs needles and garbage cleaned up

The Hand Up Project will lead a volunteer effort this weekend on wooded land south of Everett.

County Council postpones vote on conservation programs

A decision on funding agricultural and water-quality programs will come after the budget process.

Most Read