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Stella Creasy Confronts 'Bloodcurdling' Twitter Rape Threats

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Creasy has reported rape threats to the police
Creasy has reported rape threats to the police

Labour MP Stella Creasy has revealed she received rape threats on Twitter, amid a growing furore over the online threats made to rape and kill a feminist campaigner.

On Monday Twitter announced plans to include a button for reporting abuse within every tweet. The move came after Caroline Criado Perez faced a menacing tirade online for succeeding in her crusade to have Jane Austen's picture placed on a new bank note.

Creasy, the Walthamstow MP, said today that she also had received abuse on Twitter and had reported it to the police. She told BBC Radio 4's World at One programme that people had made "direct threats to rape me" as well as sending other sexually abusive messages.

The campaigning MP has made a habit of retweeting some of the sinister messages to her 30,000 followers in order to highlight the problem.

"It is important that we do not think that somehow because this is happening online it is any less violent, any less dangerous than if people were shouting or abusing Caroline in the street in this way," she said.

"Twitter needs to be explicit that sexual violence and sexual aggression will not be tolerated as part of their user terms and conditions."

Among the messages received by Creasy was one that said: "I will rape you tomorrow at 9pm .... shall we meet near your house??????"

Creasy told the BBC that the problem ran deeper than technology. "This isn't about Twitter, this is about hatred of women and hatred of women who speak up," she said.

Andy Trotter from the Association of Chief Police Officers also told the BBC that Twitter needed to deal with some of the "bloodcurdling" messages sent on its site.

"When it comes to really outrageous behaviour then clearly that must be reported to us and we will deal with those people," he said.

"This is a problem they [Twitter] are going to have to deal with. We are faced with the fact people are doing these things all the time across their particular platform and this s an issue for them."

He added: "Some of the cases she reported to me are absolutely bloodcurdling and quite clearly these should be matters police get involved in. People will be getting a knock on the door."

A spokesperson for Twitter told the Evening Standard: "We have rules which people agree to abide by when they sign up to Twitter. We will suspend accounts that once reported to us, are found to be in breach of our rules.

"The ability to report individual Tweets for abuse is currently available on Twitter for iPhone, and we plan to bring this functionality to other platforms, including Android and the web.

"We encourage users to report an account for violation of the Twitter rules by using one of our report forms."