Government minister open to new social media abuse offences

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin
Aodhán Ó Ríordáin

Government minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has opened up the prospect of introducing new offences related to social media abuse, the Irish Examiner reports.

Mr Ó Ríordáin told the newspaper that social media abuse is “something we can look at”, and admitted receiving “nasty emails” related to his support for Syrian refugees.

He added: “I’d be wary of interfering too much with people’s right to air their views.

“When it comes to people being physically threatened, or in a sexualised manner, this is about what part of the debate is about, particularly when trying to attract women into politics, and then you get an issue where people get very highly-sexualised threats made against them. It’s not just enough to say ‘mute that account’.”

Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have also come under pressure from users across the world to improve mechanisms for reporting abuse and banning abusive users.

On 29 December 2015, Twitter updated its site rules to “clarify what we consider to be abusive behaviour and hateful conduct”.

The company said it was “fighting abuse to protect freedom of expression”.

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