Twitchy has documented some ugly collections of rape threats from online trolls, so why is Twitter just now announcing that it will (allegedly) start taking such threats seriously? In a post on Twitter’s U.K. blog today, general manager Tony Wang announced an update to Twitter’s rules and the rollout of a new in-tweet report button in Twitter’s mobile apps that looks like this:


Wang’s post doesn’t specify any particular driver for the company’s latest steps, but it seems to have arisen out of a rash of rape and death threats posted against Caroline Criado-Perez, the self-described “furious feminist” who recently campaigned for at least one woman to appear on the U.K.’s redesigned bank notes.

Supported by bestselling author Caitlin Moran, who published a lengthy blog post on the threats against Criado-Perez, women began organizing a one-day Twitter “walkout” deemed #TwitterSilence. “If 52 percent of Twitter’s customers – women – see other women being repeatedly left to deal with abuse on their own, then when a new social networking site appears that has addressed this issue appears, then I suspect they will drain away from Twitter in a way that makes a 24-hour walk-out look like a mere bagatelle,” Morgan wrote.

#TwitterSilence, scheduled for Sunday, has had a tough time finding support from those who’d rather speak up.

Wang has said that the new rules apply worldwide, which should inspire even more questions about Twitter’s newfound concern over online threats and abuse as users start to discover that big red Report Tweet button.

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