Call to end anonymity for online trolls is a good idea – but not just for the reason Jess Phillips thinks

This Writer has had differences with Jess Phillips in the past but, as far as online anonymity is concerned, she’s absolutely right to want it ended.

My reasons aren’t the same as hers, though. Well, not exactly.

Ms Phillips’s call is based on her experience with online trolls who bombarded her with idle threats of rape, or said they “wouldn’t even” bother.

So she wants online organisations like Facebook and Twitter to refuse to allow online anonymity, to reduce harassment and other antisocial or criminal behaviour.

I would like online anonymity ended to stop people using pseudonymous accounts to make false accusations, thus bypassing the libel laws.

When the Campaign Against Antisemitism falsely accused me, several Twitter accounts leapt up to dogpile me, adding their contribution to efforts to blacken my name.

I know that one of those accounts, @gnasherjew, is operated by several different people, all of whom hide their identities because they are too cowardly to put their names to their false claims.

So, yes – let’s end the vicious abuse by these nameless cowards.

I even agree with the idea that people should have to provide their genuine identities to online organisations, but could remain anonymous to the public until and unless their behaviour crosses the line into harassment and defamation.

Of course, Facebook, Twitter and the like would have to make themselves more easily contactable, and I can foresee difficulties there.

And the benefits for those of us who deplore online abuse are clear: We will be able to find out, not only exactly who the abusers are – but in terms of political abuse, who they represent.

Those of us who support the Left – and particularly Jeremy Corbyn – will, I hope, find ourselves vindicated after years of pleading innocence.

One hopes not, but Ms Phillips – who has often accused Corbyn supporters of abuse – may find that harder to accept than the abuse itself.

Source: Labour MP calls for end to online anonymity after ‘600 rape threats’ | Society | The Guardian

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7 thoughts on “Call to end anonymity for online trolls is a good idea – but not just for the reason Jess Phillips thinks

  1. Kate George

    The main argument against it is that anonymity is invaluable for people in repressive countries to enable them to post online without fear of reprisals from government agents. Providing full details while still posting anonymously would just mean that certain governments would put pressure on the social media companies to give that information to them.

  2. Thomas

    Ending online anonymity would stop people posting anything criticising anyone in any way out of fear of getting arrested, getting sued, facing violence, or getting evicted.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I criticise people all the time and I have ALWAYS put my own name to my words.

  3. Simon

    Education, media campaigns towards better behaviour within society which will never happen under the maladjusted Tories.

Comments are closed.