Many users of social networking sites have become concerned about ‘trolling’ and the harm that this online anti-social behaviour can cause. In the last few months the law has begun to catch up –
We have seen further developments this week. The first concerned the sentencing of Frank Zimmerman who has been handed a 26 week suspended prison sentence for sending insulting messages to conservative MP Louise Mensch. In one extreme message he said –
"So get off Twitter. We see you are still on Twitter. We have sent a camera crew to photograph you and your kids and we will post it over the net including Twitter, c**tface. You now have Sophie's Choice: which kid is to go. One will. Count on it c**t. Have a nice day."
The judge was close to imposing an immediate prison sentence but suspended its imposition having regard to the Defendant’s age. He will go to prison if he attempts to contact her or other celebrities that he has targeted before.
Alongside this the government has announced a new Defamation Bill which will include a duty placed on internet service providers to identify internet trolls without victims needing to resort to costly legal action –
Until recently the internet has been an easy option for bullies. They could fire off their offensive and insulting material from their homes with apparent anonymity. These recent developments and those which I have mentioned before have seen a dramatic turnaround.
The message should be clear that anti-social behaviour online is unacceptable and will result in the same consequences as such behaviour in a public place.
Fighting for peoples rights