Steve Rotheram Requests Internet Trolling Debate and Criticises Social Media Networks

(January 22, 2014)

Steve In Chamber

Labour MP Steve Rotheram has requested a parliamentary debate on the issue of trolling after the issue hit the headlines again this week.

Mr Rotheram explained, “For more than two years I have been meeting with Ministers and industry experts to look in detail at the issue of internet trolling. Just this week we have seen further evidence of the inadequate response of social media sites to online racist and misogynist abuse. Can we have a debate on internet trolling so that parliament can send a message to Facebook and Twitter that we are watching what they are doing and thus far, we’re not impressed”?

The Leader of the House indicated that he recognised there may be a need for a broader parliamentary debate on trolling given the House of Commons had only explored the dangers of online abuse in cases involving children. With Stan Collymore the recipient of online racist abuse this week, Steve believes social media sites must take more responsibility for the inefficient way in which they deal with reports of abuse.

Mr Rotheram concluded, “Stan Collymore and Beth Tweddle are the thin edge of the wedge. Grossly offensive messages are being sent every single day to ordinary people, with threats of rape and murder. I accept that this is a resource issue and that millions of people use social media sites every day. However, simply relying on algorithms instead of human resource, to deal with reports of abuse, has patently not proven to be effective or efficient.

“Having monitored twitter and facebook over the last two years, it is my view that they must do more when dealing with reports of abuse and ensuring real-world threats are passed to the police. I believe the time has come for parliament to take this issue seriously and a full debate is required”.

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