July 30, 2013
Manchester Man Arrested For Sending Abusive Tweets
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
A man was arrested after using Twitter as a launching post to send a sexually abusive comment towards a female who campaigned to get a woman on British banknotes.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said a 21-year-old man was arrested in Manchester after he sent a Twitter message to Caroline Criado-Perez threatening to rape and kill her.
"The arrest is in connection with an allegation of malicious communications received by officers in Camden on Thursday, July 25," the spokesman said.
Criado-Perez said she was informed on Sunday an arrest had been made. She wrote on her Twitter page police told her about the arrest and "that's all I have at present."
"It was really really disturbing to find that something as small as asking for one woman on a banknote could result in such a barrage of threats of sexual violence," she told Sky News. "It's just not acceptable and more than that it's actually a crime and Twitter needs to take it seriously and the police need to take it seriously."
According to BBC News, the man has been bailed until a date in mid-September and detectives and police were still looking into the matter.
Criado-Perez, a freelance journalist who co-founded thewomensroom.org.uk, ran a successful campaign that resulted in Jane Austen, author of famous books such as Pride and Prejudice, to replace Charles Darwin on banknotes in 2017.
After reports emerged about Criado-Perez receiving abusive messages on Twitter, it sparked an online petition to ask Twitter to add an abuse button for those threatened with sexual violence and to make the site responsible for any criminal threats posted on it.
"They (Twitter) need to take responsibility, as do the other platforms, to deal with this at source and make sure these things do not carry on," Chief Constable Trotter told BBC. "They need to make it easier for victims to report these matters and, from a police perspective, they need to know that they can report these things to us."
Twitter, a microblogging service, pointed out in a statement on Saturday that iPhone users can report individual abusive Tweets. It also said it plans to bring this service to other platforms as well.
In August 2011, the New York Police Department (NYPD) said it would be turning to Twitter and other social media in order to help find information about crimes. NYPD said it created a special unit to comb social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and BlackBerry messenger for information on planned crimes and their perpetrators.