Twitter boss Tony Wang says abuse of women on social network is 'not acceptable'

But apology is inadequate, victims say, and attacks must stop

The boss of Twitter UK has apologised to women who have been attacked on the social networking site, saying such abuse was “simply not acceptable”.

After a week of mounting criticism of the social media company's failure to react swiftly to the levels of online abuse, Tony Wang, Twitter UK's general manager, apologised in a series of tweets issued from his personal account, saying that abuse was "not acceptable in the real world" and "not acceptable on Twitter".

But campaigners said the apology, which had taken the company a week to issue, had come too late.

Police are currently investigating eight allegations of abuse, including rape and bomb threats, made against female journalists and campaigners. Two people have since been arrested in connection to rape threats against the journalist Caroline Criado-Perez and the Labour MP Stella Creasy.

Ms Criado-Perez, 29, began receiving the threats after leading a campaign to have Jane Austen on the new £10 note.

The revelations sparked a backlash online, with a petition calling for Twitter to add a "report abuse" button to tweets attracting more than 125,000 signatures so far.

Mr Wang tweeted: "I personally apologise to the women who have experienced abuse on Twitter and for what they have gone through.

"The abuse they've received is simply not acceptable. It's not acceptable in the real world, and it's not acceptable on Twitter."

Mr Wang also promised the company would do more to combat abusive behaviour, with additional staff being brought in to handle abuse reports.

In a message posted on the Twitter blog, he and the company's senior director for trust and safety, Del Harvey, said the company had clarified its anti-harassment policy to emphasise that Twitter will not tolerate abusive behaviour, and that the "in-tweet" report button, which is already available on Twitter's iPhone app, will be available to all users from next month, allowing them to report abusive behaviour directly from a tweet.

However, the reaction to Mr Wang's apology was mixed. Ms Criado-Perez said: "While I'm pleased they're listening, it's taken Twitter a week to come up with this.

"Right now all the emphasis is on the victim, often under intense pressure, to report rather than for Twitter to track down the perpetrator and stop them," she added.

Stella Creasy, Labour MP for Walthamstow, agreed that while the new abuse button could potentially "be a welcome development", it was not an adequate response to the "cyber-stalking" she and other women have experienced.

"We have a protocol that deals with offline violence or harassment [but] we need to find ways to make this work online, where people are living now," she said."

Others took to Twitter to complain about the length of time it took the company to issue an apology. One tweeted: "Nice of [Tony Wang] to surface after a few days with the lawyers and the PR heads." Another said: "The apology to women in the UK by [Mr Wang] is too little too late. The abuse should never have been possible. This is spin."

Meanwhile, many users pointed out that other groups besides women are affected. Anti-Semitism, for example, is rife on Twitter.

Sport
Mourinho lost his temper as well as the match
sportLiverpool handed title boost as Sunderland smash manager’s 77-game home league run
Voices
Sweet tweet: Victoria Beckham’s selfie, taken on her 40th birthday on Thursday
voices... and her career-long attack on the absurd criteria by which we define our 'betters', by Ellen E Jones
Arts & Entertainment
Billie Jean King, who won the women’s Wimbledon title in 1967, when the first colour pictures were broadcast
tv
News
Snow has no plans to step back or reduce his workload
mediaIt's 25 years since Jon Snow first presented Channel 4 News, and his drive shows no sign of diminishing
Life & Style
food + drinkWhat’s not to like?
Voices
Clock off: France has had a 35‑hour working week since 1999
voicesThere's no truth to a law banning work emails after 6pm, but that didn’t stop media hysteria
Arts & Entertainment
Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones now
tvMajor roles that grow with their child actors are helping them to steal the show on TV
Life & Style
Lana Del Rey, Alexa Chung and Cara Delevingne each carry their signature bag
fashionMulberry's decision to go for the super-rich backfired dramatically
Arts & Entertainment
Kingdom Tower
architecture
Life & Style
Sampling wine in Turin
food + drink...and abstaining may be worse than drinking too much, says scientist
Arts & Entertainment
Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin has been working on the novels since the mid-Nineties
books
News
Easter a dangerous time for dogs
these are the new ones. Old ones are below them... news
News
Brand said he
people
Voices
Actor Zac Efron
voicesTopless men? It's as bad as Page 3, says Howard Jacobson
Sport
Roger Federer celebrates his victory over Novak Djokovic in the Monte Carlo Masters
sport
Arts & Entertainment
The monster rears its head as it roars into the sky
film
Voices
For the Love of God (2007) The diamond-encrusted skull that divided the art world failed to sell for
its $100m asking price. It was eventually bought by a consortium
which included the artist himself.
voicesYou can shove it, Mr Webb – I'll be having fun until the day I die, says Janet Street-Porter
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit