Online trolls threatened with ASBO-style social media bans


MPs are calling for stricter legislation around online trolling, saying anyone who is caught bullying others online should be banned from social media sites or other websites.

Labour MP John Mann, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group against Antisemitism told the House of Commons: "If we can ban people from going to a certain pub or certain football match...then the same should be done to specific parts of social media or, if necessary, to the internet as a whole."

A report published yesterday by the group further explained: "If it can be proven in a detailed way that someone has made a considered and determined view to exploit various online networks to harm and perpetrate hate crimes against others then the accepted principles, rules and restrictions that are relevant to sex offences must surely apply."

According to the All-Party Parliamentary Group, antisemitic racism is twice as common now as it was in the 1900s. The group also found that social media platforms were increasingly being used to spread of anti-semitism, referring to Nazi-themed statements and imagery on such sites last year.

However, Justice Minister Shailesh Vara explained to the House the coalition government is "working and engaging with social media platforms, with the police and with other stakeholders with a view to try and improve the position".

Mann suggested MPs should be able to contact a high-level police officer immediately should they uncover abuse or harassment of people online by others.

Other options the government has put forward for dealing with online trolls include handing out two-year jail sentences, with the legislation currently going through the House of Lords.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.