Television classicist Prof Mary Beard was sent a bomb threat on Twitter, hours after the social networking site’s UK boss personally apologised to women who have been attacked by “trolls”.
The professor of classics at University of Cambridge said she had contacted police after receiving a message on Saturday night claiming a bomb had been left outside her home.
She wrote on her Twitter page: “Just got 1 of these messages. A bomb has been placed outside your home. It will go off at exactly 10.47pm and destroy everything. Told police.”
She later wrote: “OK all, it’s 11.00pm and we are still here. So unless the trolling bombers timekeeping is rotten.... all is well. But how stupidly nasty.”
Prof Beard, 58, told BBC Radio Five Live: “There’s something very strangely and awkwardly insidious about it.
“It is is scary and it has got to stop. I didn’t actually intellectually feel that I was in danger but I thought I was being harassed, and I a thought I was being harassed in a particularly unpleasant way.”
Guardian columnist Hadley Freeman, Independent columnist Grace Dent and Europe editor of Time magazine Catherine Mayer, as well as a number of other women, have received bomb or rape threats.
Tony Wang, Twitter UK general manager, posted a series of tweets on Saturday saying abuse was “simply not acceptable”.
His messages came after the website clarified its rules amid a growing backlash.
Mr Wang wrote: “I personally apologise to the women who have experienced abuse on Twitter and for what they have gone through.
“The abuse they’ve received is simply not acceptable. It’s not acceptable in the real world, and it’s not acceptable on Twitter.”
Scotland Yard said its e-crime unit was investigating allegations by eight people of abuse on the microblogging site. Two men have already been arrested.