The shocking scale of Twitter abuse for Britain’s MPs is revealed

Abusive messages are sent to MPs every single month and, while that might not surprise you, the sheer scale might.

Of the 3.8m tweets sent to MPs between 9 May and 18 August last year, nearly 200,000 were abusive.

Further analysis of the 188,000 abusive messages by BCS (the Chartered Institute for IT), and the thinktank Demos, found almost two-thirds came from accounts registered to men.

Read more: Sexist internet trolls are literally ‘losers’ say scientists

Par for the course

Twitter has long festered with sexism, trolls and abuse, but the sheer scale identified by this study is shocking.

The report found 34% of the abuse was “unqualified”, meaning the tweets did not give a reason as to why the abuse was being sent and was not part of a conversation.

Over the last year there have been arrests and police investigations into the online abuse against MP Will Quince, relating to his stillborn child, MP Stella Creasy, and many others.

“Online political engagement is here to stay, and issues around how well it is serving our political process will only increase with time,” said David Evans, director of policy and community at BCS.

“The time to give proper consideration to how the situation can be improved, making IT better for society, is now!”

Earlier this month Facebook revealed it would hire another 3,000 moderators to keep a better eye on abusive and illegal posts, but we calculated that the social network would need closer to 5.8m moderators to keep its nearly two billion users safe.

Today Evans and his report call for “escalating sanctions” including meaningful fines for social media companies that fail to remove abuse and illegal content within a strict timeframe.

While the internet has seen more of us engaged with democracy than ever before, the anonymity social media platforms allow means trolls are never far behind.

But who does the responsibility lie with? Is it time to punish these social media giants, for becoming platforms for abuse, or focus on the people that use them?

The post The shocking scale of Twitter abuse for Britain’s MPs is revealed appeared first on The Memo.

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