It’s been an exceedingly ugly fortnight on Twitter. Following a successful campaign orchestrated by journalist and feminist Caroline Criado-Perez to have a woman reinstated on Bank of England banknotes, she has been subjected to a relentless campaign of harassment, with rape and death threats being received by Criado-Perez at a rate of nearly one per minute on July 24, the day it was confirmed that her campaign had been a success. After being the platform for sustained threats and abuse for almost two weeks, Twitter has finally begun to act.
London MP Stella Creasy and television presenter and historian Mary Beard are among those who, like Criado-Perez, have received misogynistic death and rape threats through the social messaging service. Creasy’s apparent crime against mankind was to post updates to Twitter in support of Criado-Perez. Beard (a long-time victim of online abuse) was to join in with a one-day boycott of the service on Sunday (proposed by columnist Caitlin Moran, who has also been on the end of threats and abuse), but broke silence to report yet more threats.