Twitter has spoken out to clarify its policies for reviewing tweets on its service after facing criticism over rape threats that were made against an equal rights campaigner in the UK last week.

In a blog post titled “We hear you”, Twitter Senior Director of Trust & Safety Del Harvey explained that Twitter is unable to manually review every tweet, but it does use “both automated and manual systems” to keep tabs on its service.

Harvey noted that Twitter’s mobile site and iPhone app recently got the ability to file abuse reports, and that Android and the desktop Web version will eventually get the feature.

Though not explicitly stated, Harvey’s comments come as a response to the flak that Twitter took last week over a flood of rape threats that were made against an individual last week. At the time, Twitter UK chief Tony Wang said the company was looking into better ways to “simplify reporting.” Following the incident, a petition to Twitter to have the report abuse button added across platforms attracted over 65,000 signatures.

Here are the relevant paragraphs from Twitter’s post:

While manually reviewing every Tweet is not possible due to Twitter’s global reach and level of activity, we use both automated and manual systems to evaluate reports of users potentially violating our Twitter Rules. These rules explicitly bar direct, specific threats of violence against others and use of our service for unlawful purposes, for which users may be suspended when reported.

To the extent that our system is based around the filing of reports with our Trust & Safety team, we strive to make it easier and more practical to file them. Three weeks ago, we rolled out the ability to file reports from an individual Tweet on our iPhone app and the mobile version of our site, and we plan to bring this functionality to Android and desktop web users.

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