Women journalists in UK on Twitter death threat list

Last Updated: Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 21:11

London: Several women in the UK, including three prominent journalists, have received bomb threats on micro-blogging site Twitter, prompting the Scotland Yard to launch a probe.

"We can confirm that the Metropolitan police have received allegations relating to bomb threats sent to a number of females on Twitter," a Metropolitan police spokesperson said here on Thursday.

There have been no arrests and no bombs actually went off, the spokesman said.

Columnists Hadley Freeman at `The Guardian`, Grace Dent at `The Independent` and Catharine Mayer, Europe editor of `Time` magazine, were among those who received the Twitter threats from anonymous user @98JU98U989 yesterday.

Freeman had written a column a day earlier headlined `How to use the internet without being a total loser`, responding to a series of violent messages on the social network aimed at women.

The anonymous account has been suspended by Twitter last night, however, a screen grab was posted on the site by one of the journalists.

The threat read: "A BOMB HAS BEEN PLACED OUTSIDE YOUR HOME. IT WILL GO OFF AT EXACTLY 10.47PM ON A TIMER AND TRIGGER DESTROYING EVERYTHING".

After receiving the threat, Hadley Freeman wrote on Twitter that she was calling the police, adding: "If it`s illegal to threaten to bomb an airport, it`s illegal to threaten to bomb me".

Grace Dent described the threat as a "new low".

The latest incident comes just days after rape threats to Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy and women`s campaigner Caroline Criado Perez on Twitter successfully lobbying for famous British author Jane Austen to appear on British banknotes.

Television historian Professor Mary Beard was also targeted by a Twitter user, who she named and shamed.

He apologised after Beard threatened to send a copy of his comments to his mother.

Meanwhile, over 100,000 people have signed a petition calling on Twitter to beef up its procedures for dealing with abuse.

The social media site has announced plans to include a button for reporting abuse within every tweet -- something which is already available on its iPhone app.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 21:11

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