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Ghostbusters star wants Twitter to fight trolls after barrage of racist abuse

Trolls sent the actress images which compared her to a gorilla.

ELLE Women in Comedy Event Leslie Jones Source: AP/Press Association Images

STAND UP COMEDIAN and Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones has said she is in “personal hell” after receiving a barrage of abuse on Twitter.

Last night, she appealed to Twitter to fight back at the trolls and accounts that were sending her racist and abusive tweets:

Jones, who has been a member of the Twitter community since 2009, had spent some hours retweeting abuse that she had been receiving, as well as replying to commenters.

Jones said she was reporting and blocking numerous trolls who had targeted her.

In addition to the abusive tweets, fake tweets purported to be written by Jones and Ghostbusters director Paul Feig were also being circulated:

In response, Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, sent a tweet to Jones asking her to contact him:

Jones is the latest in a long line of people who have spoken out about abuse they have received on Twitter – and called for the site to do more to fight it.

Under Twitter rules, the site says it does “not tolerate behaviour that crosses the line into abuse, including behaviour that harasses, intimidates, or uses fear to silence another user’s voice”.

It said that sites which send violent threats, harass other uses, promote violence, create multiple accounts to abuse people or publish other people’s private information “may be temporarily locked and/or subject to permanent suspension”.

Guidelines

In its guidelines for how users should report abuse, Twitter recommends firstly blocking the user. It says that if users “continue receiving unwanted, targeted and continuous @replies on Twitter, and feel it constitutes online abuse”, they should consider reporting the behaviour to Twitter.

It urges users to contact local law enforcement authorities if they believe they are in physical danger, and to make sure they document any abusive messages.

It also advises people to turn to family and friends for support and advice.

In May of this year Jack Dorsey said in an interview with the BBC:

I don’t think the negativity and the abuse and harassment is unique to Twitter.
I think it’s an industry-wide, internet-wide issue that we all need to solve. And we did make it a priority for the company.

In the UK, a number of cases of Twitter abuse have led to arrests and jail sentences.

A man was arrested on suspicion of harassment offences after campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez received rape threats on Twitter. In 2014, a 42-year-old man was sent to jail for eight weeks over offensive tweets about a teacher who was stabbed.

Also in 2014, a 21-year-old was jailed after comments he made on Facebook.

Here in Ireland, politicians have spoken out about the abuse – including death threats – which they have received online. While legislation to tackle such abuse has been mooted, no new laws have been brought in to date.

In her most recent tweet, Jones said she was leaving Twitter “with tears and a very sad heart” because of the abuse she has received.

Read: “We will kill you”: Irish politicians speak out against online abuse>

Read: Alan Shatter has a lot to say about ‘venomous’ online abuse>

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