Prof Mary Beard has received many violent and sexually abusive threats on Twitter. (
Mary Beard has received sexually abusive threats on Twitter (

The Cambridge classics professor Mary Beard has revealed that she received a message on Twitter claiming that a bomb had been planted outside her home.

Prof Beard said the threat came soon after a personal apology from the social networking site's UK boss over attacks on women by internet trolls.

The TV presenter and classics professor branded the attack as a "stupidly nasty" hoax and contacted the authorities.

She wrote on Twitter: "Just got one 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."

Speaking to BBC Radio Five Live, the 58-year-old said: "There's something very strangely and awkwardly insidious about it.

"It 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 thought I was being harassed in a particularly unpleasant way."

Beard has taken to 'outing' internet trolls by publicly naming and shaming them. She recently silenced an internet troll after naming him on Twitter.

She re-tweeted the derogatory sexual remarks of her abuser, Oliver Rawlings, until he was forced by thousands of her outraged followers to apologise and withdraw.

Rawlings apologised after another user threatened to tell his mother.

Beard has received violent threats before. After an appearance on Question Time, the 58-year-old received online death threats and menaces of sexual assault.

Tony Wang, Twitter UK general manager, posted a series of tweets saying abuse was "simply not acceptable".

His messages came after the website clarified its rules on abusive behaviour after a growing backlash that Twitter was not doing enough to stop the online attacks on women.

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.

"There is more we can and will be doing to protect our users against abuse. That is our commitment."

The company has updated its rules to make it clear that abuse will not be tolerated and has put extra staff in place to handle reports of abuse, it said.

An online petition calling for Twitter to add a "report abuse" button to tweets has already attracted more than 124,000 signatures.

An "in-tweet" report button has been added so people can report abusive behaviour directly from a tweet, Twitter said.