Twitter apologises to Aussie trolling victim
Twitter has apologised and is set to discuss trolling with Australian police after a Sydney woman endured weeks of horrific threats from fans of the rapper, Tyler Okonma.The social network giant has also promised to install a “report abuse” button on its main website and Android app from September in a bid to make it easier for trolling victi to highlight their cases.The button’s already available on Twitter’s iPhone apps.
It comes after 24-year-old Talitha Stone received hundreds of tweets threatening violence and rape after she challenged Okonma’s controversial “horrorcore” lyrics, which have centred on violence, rape fantasies, murder and necrophilia.
The online threats began in June after Stone, a Sydney psychology student, tweeted Okonma and an Australian clothing store where he was due to appear, highlighting her opposition to his lyrics.
Her tweet read: “Have to visit Culturekings tomoz to protest against (Okonma) – he will be there at midday. I think they need educating on .”
Stone received threats online almost immediately.
But the real deluge began a few days later, after the rapper mentioned Stone while performing on stage in Australia.
The Sydneysider had previously lobbied the UK government to revoke Okonma’s visa – a move the rapper appeared to take strong exception to.
During a performance at Newtown’s Enmore Theatre, the 22-year-old artist reportedly told his audience: “I wish she could hear me call her a bitch”.
Fans then deluged Stone with abuse.
She told AAP: “For about two weeks after that I was receiving abuse daily – so much I couldn’t keep up with it.”
The abuse included threats of rape and violence, which Stone reported to Australian police and to Twitter.
She started another change.org petition earlier this month challenging the social network firm to address trolling and continued tweeting about it.
Her persistence led to a phone-call from Twitter’s global head of trust and safety, Del Harvey and public policy vice-president Colin Crowell on Friday.
The executives apologised and promised tougher action against trolls. They also said they would hold talks with senior Australian police to discuss how similar cases might be handled.
Twitter will also introduce the new “report abuse” button from September, along with a simplified “autofill” form to make it easier for victims to detail the abuse they’ve suffered.
The company employed to handle Twitter’s public relations in Australia did not immediately respond to AAP’s request for further comment.
The incident comes as social networks and police around the world attempt to address the issue of trolling, which occurs across jurisdictions and often under the cloak of anonymity.
The Australian government has previously called on Twitter and other social networks to better address trolling, including last year when rugby league star Robbie Farah suffered abuse.