Jane Austen currency fight turns abusive on Twitter

(CBS News) A woman wanted to lead a small revolution in British currency, but she became the target of abuse and threats on Twitter.

Now British media reports a 32-year-old man has been arrested for harassment. It's the third arrest in the case.

CBS News' Kelly Cobiella recently spoke with Caroline Criado-Perez, the woman who had no idea she would face a backlash.

Criado-Perez knows the power of Twitter. The feminist blogger used it to push the Bank of England into putting one female face other than the Queen on an English bank note. When that face was unveiled to be the novelist Jane Austen two weeks ago, the tweets turned nasty.

In the first 12 hours or so, Criado-Perez said she received "relentless and pretty overwhelming" responses. She said, "I was getting about a tweet a minute really all of them incredibly violent and graphic, most of them containing threats, discussing very specifically what was going to happen to which part of my body."

Criado-Perez and female politicians and journalists who supported her became the targets of an all-out attack against women -- 300 pages of threatening tweets in just four days.

Criado-Perez showed CBS News one of the texts, saying, "This is one of my favorite ones." It reads, "I will find you and you don't know what I will do when I do. You're pathetic. Kill yourself before I do."

Twitter doesn't flag threats or abuse, instead leaving it up to the user to report each one using an online form.

Politician Stella Creasy was also targeted. She said, "Some users come under sustained attack through their site, one person was getting 50 rape threats in an hour, to ask them to fill out a form for every single one of those just simply wouldn't have worked."

Over the weekend, Tony Wang, general manager for Twitter UK, apologized to the women, saying:

Wang also promised the company would simplify the reporting process.

Criado-Perez has endured two weeks of abuse and admits it has left her shaken. "They do want to scare me," she said, "but they also want me to shut up so at least I'm only giving them 50 percent of what they want. I will never shut up."

In four years, by 2017, the bill she fought for, with Jane Austen's face, will be filling Britons' wallets.

Watch Kelly Cobiella's full report above.

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