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Student editor among Twitter bomb threat victims

One the female journalists targeted with bomb threats by a Twitter troll was the editor of a student newspaper, it has emerged.

University of Oxford student Anna Leszkiewicz, aged 21, was among the victims of the cruel hoax alongside the likes of Independent writer Grace Dent and Guardian columnist Hadley Freeman

Anonymous Twitter user @98JU98U989 posted a Tweet directed to each of them reading: “A bomb has been placed outside your home. It will go off at exactly 10.47pm on a timer and trigger destroying everything.”

Speaking to the Oxford Mail, Anna – who is studying English literature and edits the student-run Cherwell title – said she was “infuriated” by the threats.

“I didn’t take it seriously at first and I didn’t think too much about it, but then I read an article which said that threats had been made against female journalists and so I called the police at about 8pm,” she said.

“It’s infuriating to think someone thinks it’s okay to do this. I was irritated by it and thought that it was unacceptable.”

Anna – who has just 159 followers – said she believes she was targeted because she is a feminist, who follows others with similar views on the social networking site.

She had also recently posted a message on the “Everyday Sexism” Twitter account, which aims to highlight day-to-day abuse against women, after being catcalled in the street.

The string of threats against female journalists in particular began last week when campaigner and journalist Caroline Criado-Perez received sustained threats of rape and abuse on the site after securing a victory in getting Jane Austen featured on the new £10 note.

A petition calling for Twitter to take stronger action against people who abuse others on the site.

“It’s good there is more awareness about it and people are starting to think that just because abuse is online, that doesn’t make it acceptable,” Anna added.

“The problem is that technology is developing at a faster pace than the police or relevant authorities can deal with at the moment.

“A report button is a good place to start, but people are still learning about the best way to deal with abuse.”

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  • August 5, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    Can only imagine it must have been horrifying to read that tweet. I implore the government to intervene. Sites such as facebook and twitter should introduce a card payment toll for the use of the sites. It only needs to be 50p or some low cost, but it will prove the identity of a user, and also stop young children using the sites which are then the victims of abuse and grooming.

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