New Rules Threaten Internet Trolls With Harsher Penalties

By Gary Cutlack on at

It's Hate Crime Awareness Week they say, and what better way to kick it off than with new guidelines from the UK's Crown Prosecution Service on how to handle internet abusers?

The CPS has released updated guidelines to help prosecutors identify online abuse through social media, just in case the legal people in a particular case aren't particularly clued up when it comes to teen Snapchat bullying or the mass shaming campaigns led by the default egg army.

The clarification specifically targets online harassment, and warns that anyone who flexes their social media might by getting their 198 followers to harangue an enemy might face conviction under the Serious Crime Act 2007. Such examples include posting someone's home address online or creating a hashtag to gather everyone together in the hate-spewing toward one particular person.

The social media guidance also includes new sections covering Violence against Women and Girls, covering the uploading of faked images and the spreading of random sexual slurs.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, said: "Social media can be used to educate, entertain and enlighten but there are also people who use it to bully, intimidate and harass. Ignorance is not a defence and perceived anonymity is not an escape. Those who commit these acts, or encourage others to do the same, can and will be prosecuted." [CPS via OM]

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