Twitter makes it easier for Ashley Judd, users to report threatening tweets to police

Celebrity, News, Privacy, Rights

Twitter announced a new feature Tuesday that makes it easier to report threatening tweets and harassment to law enforcement. The news came just a day after reports that Ashley Judd plans to press charges against Twitter users who sent her threatening tweets, including threats of sexual violence.

Judd tweeted during the SEC Tournament title game that the Arkansas Razorbacks were playing “dirty” against her team, the Kentucky Wildcats. In response, the actress received a barrage of threatening tweets.

Judd, who has written about being a sexual abuse survivor in her memoirs, told MSNBC that she plans to press charges against the users who sent her the tweets.

How to report threats on Twitter

Twitter’s new harassment reporting system is the latest in a series of attempts to better protect its users from abuse. Last month the company announced steps to prevent “doxing,” or posting others’ personal information online, and impersonation. From Twitter:

“After filing a report regarding a threatening Tweet directed at you, you’ll see an option on the last screen to receive a summary of your report via email.

Clicking the ‘Email report’ button will send you an email that packages the threatening Tweet and URL along with the responsible Twitter username and URL and a timestamp as well as your account information and the timestamp of your report. Our guidelines for law enforcement explain what additional information we have and how authorities can request it.

While we take threats of violence seriously and will suspend responsible accounts when appropriate, we strongly recommend contacting your local law enforcement if you’re concerned about your physical safety. We hope that providing you with a summary of your report will make that process easier for you.

Finally, we’d like to acknowledge our safety partners, like the National Network to End Domestic Violence, for their feedback on this feature. Their input continues to be extremely valuable to us as we refine our reporting process so that it’s more efficient and useful.”

GeekWire notes that while this is a great step by Twitter, it may not lead to many concrete results since law enforcement agencies are often under-staffed or under-equipped to deal with online harassment. If you’re feeling threatened online, you may also want to discuss the situation with an experienced harassment lawyer near you, in addition to contacting local police.

Photo: s_bukley /