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

Turkey talk: Kindergartners explain the Thanksgiving holiday

Our annual pilgrimage led us this year to Pathfinder Kindergarten Center in Everett.

Police locate suspect in Snohomish River after he fled

They used a thermal-imaging camera to locate the man in the water near Dagmars Marina.

Electrical fire on roof of Marysville school extinguished

There was no apparent structural damage to Cascade Elementary School.

As police closed in, 2 heavily armed pot-shop robbers fled

Cops surrounded the place in Mountlake Terrace. The suspects were tracked by dogs and apprehended nearby.

Hiker rescued on Boulder River trail after 15-foot fall

She was reported to have possible leg and rib fractures.

Alleged philanderer attacked with hammer near Everett

His girlfriend had accused him of cheating and allegedly called on another man to confront him.

State waging war with tenacious ivy, an invasive ‘bully’

The public is being asked to help with a study by collecting and sending in samples.

Plans being developed for surplus school land

Two major projects could be built on properties owned by the Edmonds School District.

Most Read