After Outcry, Twitter Expands Abuse Button

"We want social media companies to take steps to stop this happening. It's on their platforms this is occurring. They must accept responsibility for what's happening on their platforms," Trotter, chair of the Association of Chief Police Officers communications advisory group, told the Guardian. "We don't want to be in this arena."

In order to further pressure Twitter, many British users are calling for a "day of silence" on Aug. 4 to protest "women being silenced on Twitter."

"We could all leave on Aug. 4 - International Friendship Day, kind of apt," tweeted the popular columnist and author Caitlin Moran.

Moran and others argue that it's not enough to just block abusers, something that Twitter has made much easier than reporting abuse to the site. Women have to reveal their abusers. "For those who say, 'why complain - just block?' on a big troll day, it can be 50 violent/rape messages an hour. Exhausting and upsetting," tweeted Moran.

"It's important that we don't let them win," Holmes argues, "that we keep challenging them, that we tell them it's wrong."

Earlier this year, Facebook faced a similar campaign when thousands of users complained about material that portrayed violence against women positively.

Campaigners highlighted groups such as "This is why Indian girls get raped" and photographs showing abused women. One image of a woman lying at the foot of a flight of stairs was captioned, "Next time, don't get pregnant."

Eventually, Facebook changed its policies, declaring in a blog post that "We need to do better - and we will."

In response to the abuse on Twitter, the British government is now adding to the pressure on Twitter. The British Parliament is calling Twitter executives to testify about online protection.

Culture Committee chairman John Whittingdale said he was interested in whether Twitter and other internet companies "will cooperate in identifying the people responsible where it is plain that an offence is being committed."

And the successful online campaigns have inspired similar ones in other countries. French activist and journalist Rokhaya Diallo launched a Change.org petition on Twitter abuse. And Talitha Stone did the same from Sydney after she was subjected to a campaign of abuse by fans of a rapper whose lyrics she criticized.

"Even after I reported some of these threats to Twitter, nothing has changed. Many of the people who threatened and abused me are still free to do to everyone else what they did to me. Twitter urgently needs a zero-tolerance policy on abuse," she said in a statement. "I was inspired by Caroline's story and Kim's petition. It empowered me to say that we have a right to be heard."

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