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(The Root) — When celebrities mess up, they often take to Twitter to send out their mass apologies. This time, it's Twitter that's doing the apologizing.

The popular microblogging site is facing a wave of criticism from people who say that threats of rape and bodily harm against women transmitted through the site are not taken seriously or properly handled. This comes in the wake of a tidal wave of threats hurled at Caroline Criado-Perez for her push to get Jane Austen on a new £10 banknote in the United Kingdom. Twitter, slow to react, eventually spoke with police, and a man was arrested for threatening and harassing Criado-Perez.


Feminist Frequency's Anita Sarkeesian knows this dance all too well. As a woman who often reports on the representation of women in the male-dominated world of gaming (and pop culture in general), she faces a metric ton of such threats. She has tweeted often about her unsuccessful efforts at getting Twitter to intervene.

With Twitter shrugging its shoulders, women took matters into their own hands, pressing for proactivity and demanding, among other things, that a "report abuse" button be put on every tweet to make combating threats via the service easier. Since then, Twitter's head of safety has admitted its fault, saying, "I think that any time that someone thinks we were responsive, or weren't reactive or we didn't care, then, yes, we failed in that instance and we need to do better."


Twitter says that it already has systems "in place to prevent abuse" and that it is working on the "report abuse" feature for which many are calling. In the meantime, those tired of waiting are organizing a boycott of the site and its services for Aug. 4.

Read more at Sky News.

Tracy Clayton is a writer, humorist and blogger from Louisville, Ky.