Twitter deals with threats against women in the U.K.

There’s behaving badly — Anthony Weiner, check. Baseball players, check — on Twitter. Then there are threats.

Twitter U.K. announced over the weekend that it is updating rules and adding workers to try to police tweets after recent threats against high-profile women there, including a member of Parliament.

“People deserve to feel safe on Twitter,” company executives blogged Saturday.

Three female journalists received bomb threats, while  Labour MP Stella Creasy and activist Caroline Criado-Perez were threatened with rape, according to the Guardian.

Twitter has suspended at least a couple of accounts, and it says a button to report abuse, already available on its iOS app, is coming soon to the Android app and on the Web. Police have made a couple of arrests.

As we’ve explored repeatedly on this blog, Twitter has been known to support and protect free speech, but it has had to make concessions as it grows. CEO Dick Costolo reiterated that in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, while saying that allowing people to post anonymously on Twitter remains important. “Doing so enables political speech in countries where political speech isn’t particularly welcome,” he said. But that also means that some people will tweet “horrible, disgusting revolting things.”

In other news about threats on social media, we recently wrote about the Texas teen who was jailed (and released) over what he said was a satirical threat on Facebook.

Photo by AFP/Getty Images

Levi Sumagaysay Levi Sumagaysay (4265 Posts)

Levi Sumagaysay is editor of the combined SiliconBeat and Good Morning Silicon Valley. She also helps take care of, the Mercury News tech website. Email: