Twitter UK expands access to abuse-reporting function

After threatening tweets toward activist Caroline Criado-Perez went unchecked for days, Twitter makes it easier to crack down on hate.

Nick Statt Former Staff Reporter / News
Nick Statt was a staff reporter for CNET News covering Microsoft, gaming, and technology you sometimes wear. He previously wrote for ReadWrite, was a news associate at the social-news app Flipboard, and his work has appeared in Popular Science and Newsweek. When not complaining about Bay Area bagel quality, he can be found spending a questionable amount of time contemplating his relationship with video games.
Nick Statt
Nicholas Kamm

The Internet is not a kind place, but those fighting for positivity and accountability have pushed Twitter, a potential outlet for collective vitriol, to make reporting abuse easier. In response to the torrent of abuse that engulfed UK activist Caroline Criado-Perez last week, Twitter UK has confirmed that it will soon expand its abuse-reporting function to Android apps and desktop Web users.

As of now, the ability to file reports is reserved for iPhone users and those using Twitter's mobile Web site, a function added only three weeks ago.

Twitter's decision to take action was influenced in part by a Change.org petition that garnered more than 65,000 signatures of members calling for a universal "report abuse" button.

While the decision taken today is not exactly what the petition demanded, it confirms Twitter's stance on defending its users. The social network is making its current reporting process, which covers all types of complaints, more widely available.

"We hope the public understands the balances we're trying to strike as we continue to work to make our systems and processes better," wrote Del Harvey, Twitter's senior director of trust and safety, in a blog post titled "We hear you." While it's not easy straddling the line between defending freedom of expression and quelling hate speech, Criado-Perez's resilience and the persistence of those who have stood by her have clinched an important victory in the quest to make Twitter a less hateful place.