Apparently it is just fine and dandy with Twitter if you threaten to rape someone on its service. Feminist Frequency creator Anita Sarkeesian receives her fair share of vile threats on Twitter on a regular basis, but when she reports them to Twitter it doesn't seem to do anything about them. On her Twitter feed yesterday she noted that she reported several threatening tweets to Twitter and was awaiting a response. Today she received that response, which was a big surprise to anyone who read the example tweet she posted.
Sarkeesian is in the line of fire because of her video web series that "critically explores the representations of women in pop culture narratives," with an emphasis on video games. Her video series was funding by a highly successful Kickstarter campaign, but while it was in full swing and even after it was funded beyond her original target goal, some gamers have shared their discomfort and disapproval in highly inappropriate ways.
I just reported two more alarmingly specific and graphic rape threats I received today. Waiting to see if @Twitter ignores these as well.
— Feminist Frequency (@femfreq) July 29, 2013
But here is how Twitter responded to one of those tweets where someone promised that they would rape her:
Twitter says "We have found the reported account is currently not in violation of the Twitter Rules at this time" pic.twitter.com/HnJ6gueb3u
— Feminist Frequency (@femfreq) July 28, 2013
The Twitter Rules state: "You may not publish or post direct, specific threats of violence against others."
I don't think the original spirit of Twitter was to jam threats of violence in under 140 characters. Until Twitter decides that it is not okay for someone to threaten to kill or rape another person, this kind of behavior will continue unabated…
UPDATE: As prh99 points out in the comments, the Tweet that Sarkeesian offered a screen cap of is seven months old and the account is currently suspended.