Female journalists threatened with bomb over Twitter

01 Aug 2013


Several female journalists in the UK had been targets of bomb threats on Twitter, leading to a police investigation.

Guardian columnist Hadley Freeman, the Independent's Grace Dent and Time magazine's Europe editor Catherine Mayer received tweets threatening bomb attacks on their homes.

According to anonymous account holders on the social networking site, they had placed bombs outside the reporters' homes, set to explode at 22.47 pm and claimed the bomb had a 'trigger destroying everything'.

The development comes during a week when rape threats were made on Twitter against MP Stella Creasy and feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez.

A petition urging Twitter to do more for prevention of online abuse had drawn over 100,000 signatures.

The threats were reported to the Metropolitan police by Ms Freeman who had earlier published a column entitled, 'How to use the internet without being a total loser'.

She wrote: 'I'm calling the police. If it's illegal to threaten to bomb an airport, it's illegal to threaten to bomb me.'

Ms Dent termed the threat as a 'new low' for Twitter.

Though Mayer described the threat as 'not very credible-sounding', the police advised Freeman not to stay at home overnight, according to a Guardian report.

Meanwhile, according to Twitter, it planned to make reporting abuse easier following an MP and campaigner receiving rape threats.

MP Stella Creasy and feminist Caroline Criado-Perez, who successfully fought for a woman's face on £10 bank notes, had been targeted last week.

Meanwhile, a petition calling on Twitter to step up efforts to prevent online abuse garnered over 100,000 signatures.

According to Sara Lang, a social media manager for US-based campaign group AARP, she too had been similarly threatened, but police in Washington DC had since confirmed that her house was safe.

According to a Met spokesman, an investigation into the threats, which made the tweeters liable to be arrested, was then launched.

Mayer said she had been tempted to ignore and delete the "not very credible-sounding" tweet.

However, she as also Ms Dent and Ms Freedman were advised by the police not to stay at their homes overnight, she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

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