Category Archives: Trolling

Corbyn to take legal action over faked photo. Will Tory councillor who posted it need a second job afterwards?

Jeremy Corbyn: he wasn’t amused.

Yes, the headline shamelessly mashes two current political news stories – and justifiably.

Last weekend, the Twitter account of a Conservative councillor from Yorkshire, Paul Nickerson, tweeted a faked photograph of Jeremy Corbyn laying a wreath next to the taxi that exploded outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital that day, with the comment: “Unsurprisingly”

No, I’m not going to post it again. If you really want to see it, read This Site’s previous story, here.

Nickerson himself has apologised for the tweet, which he claimed was a prank by others using his account, and the tweet has been deleted.

Whoever put it up, it is possible that they thought Mr Corbyn would take it on the chin. After all, he never took court action over all those anti-Semitism/terrorism support allegations, so he wasn’t likely to do anything about this, right?

Wrong.

According to the Islington Gazette,

In a short statement, Mr Corbyn said: “My solicitor has been notified and we are taking legal action.”

This takes me to the reference to second jobs – the hot topic among MPs, many of whom reckon they simply can’t survive on their salary of £82,000 (three times the national average) plus the most generous expenses scheme anybody can think of.

Nickerson isn’t a member of Parliament and, as far as I know, may not have a second job to supplement whatever allowance he receives as a Yorkshire councillor.

But, as I suggest in the headline, he may certainly wish he had one, if Mr Corbyn wins his case.

One does have to question whether anybody will employ him, though. Even his local Conservative group has suspended his membership.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Backlash against ‘subjective’ Online Harms Bill may harm policing of social media trolls

Who would have thought the Online Harms Bill could reverse the roles of the aggressor and the victim in social media abuse?

A plan to base prosecution of online trolls on subjective judgements by lawyers could derail a perfectly good law.

The Times has reported on changes to the planned Online Harms Act:

Trolls could face two years in prison for sending messages or posting content that causes psychological harm under legislation targeting online hate.

Ministers will overhaul communication laws by creating new offences in the forthcoming Online Safety Bill, the flagship legislation to combat abuse and hatred on the internet.

The Department for Culture, Media & Sport has accepted recommendations from the Law Commission for crimes to be based on “likely psychological harm”.

The proposed law change will shift the focus on to the “harmful effect” of a message rather than if it contains “indecent” or “grossly offensive” content, which is the present basis for assessing its criminality.

A new offence of “threatening communications” will target messages and social media posts that contain threats of serious harm.

The sticking-point is the issue of “likely psychological harm”. Nothing else in the article is new – and This Writer has already supported much of what is planned.

I can’t support a clause that allows conviction based on nothing but wishful thinking.

How would a lawyer gauge “likely psychological harm”? Would they seek reports from medical experts? Would they examine the effect of the messages on their victim? Or would they just take the word of a social media user who may be a good actor with their own axe to grind?

It’s too subjective; it’s wide open to abuse.

The benchmark for criminal prosecution must always be harm that a person has definitely suffered – that can be proved by showing evidence. It can’t be based on hearsay or the wild claims of someone who makes a profession out of being offended.

So, for instance, the teenage girl in Rachel Riley’s libel case against me had genuine anxiety issues that, it could be argued, had been worsened by the dogpiling she suffered as a result of her Twitter encounters with Riley; she was terrified of leaving her home alone for a period of months afterwards.

If this law had been in force at the time – without the subjective element – I am satisfied that it would have been possible to show the harm that had been done.

The fear with the new measure is that it will allow people with a political axe to grind – most probably right-wingers, as usual – to victimise others by claiming psychological injury from social media posts that simply engage in robust debate.

See what I mean?

And note how The Times misrepresented the story; Twitter ‘pile-ons’ (more properly known as dogpiles) were already going to be criminalised before the subjective element was added in.

We all got the point:

Even a former Conservative chairman and Brexit minister has come out against this offence to justice: David Davis.

According to Sky News:

Mr Davis criticised the bill as “a good example of the best of intentions leading to the worst of outcomes” and warned that it was “a censor’s charter” as a result.

He warned that as the law is backed up by fines potentially stretching into billions of pounds for companies that fail to tackle this content, they will err on the side of caution.

“You can be sure that in any area of controversy – political issues, culture wars, or even COVID science – there will be plenty of people complaining and demanding a post be taken down.

“And with Silicon Valley mega corporations as arbiters of the truth, anything that appears online and can be characterised by someone as misinformation could be censored.

“The chilling effect on free speech will be terrible,” he added.

Still, being British, we can laugh at it:

We laugh because it’s funny, and we laugh because it’s probably true. It shows how low the UK government has fallen.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Chris Packham’s house firebombed – because he campaigns for conservation?

Inferno: the exploding Land Rover damaged the gates beyond repair.

At a time of worldwide animal extinctions and potentially irreparable damage to the ecosystem, what kind of psychopath firebombs the house of a conservationist who campaigns to save our wildlife?

Shockingly, masked intruders parked a Land Rover outside a Hampshire house belonging to TV naturalist Chris Packham last weekend and set fire to it. This was the day before he was due to deliver a 100,000-signature petition to Buckingham Palace, calling for the Royal Family to conserve nature on Crown estates and to reintroduce species like beavers and wild boar.

Mr Packham himself has attributed the attack to online trolls:

He said: “These people are angry at some of the things that I campaign against.” He campaigns against the wilful destruction of our natural environment! How can anybody be angry about that?

Sadly, This Writer can understand and sympathise with much of his experience with online trolls.

It is very easy to whip up extreme hatred on (for example) Twitter. I’m currently fighting a court case against another TV personality, who claims that her own behaviour on that platform didn’t encourage her Twitter followers to bully and intimidate a teenage girl with mental health problems. My question is simple: if she didn’t focus her followers on that girl, who does she say did?

Mr Packham says the social media companies have done nothing to enable justice or prevent hatred from being whipped up, and I am (again) inclined to agree.

But the Tory government is (allegedly) putting legislation through Parliament to change that. The Online Harms Bill will propose penalties for such behaviour.

I am eagerly awaiting it. Depending on what measures are finally imposed, it may be the best thing this Tory government does.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Riley libel trial: there’s only one way to beat these online bullies

A nasty incident occurred while I was discussing the Labour Party conference on Twitter earlier this week.

An online supporter of Rachel Riley butted into the thread to threaten me, although it might not seem obvious from his words:

He was implying that, when I am defeated in court by Rachel Riley, the cost will be so much that I will have to sell my house to pay it off – or give it to Riley.

People like him have been saying it since early 2019 when I was first threatened with litigation.

One one level it is a completely false threat because I rent, but that doesn’t stop them.

My response, as you can see, was to throw it back in his face; I’m more likely to win than she is, and her costs would be equally high.

On another level, of course, it is psychological intimidation. I could lose the case, and if I do, I will not have the wherewithal to pay a huge combined costs and damages bill.

And I still have to get the case into court. At the moment, even that is looking decidedly dicey as donations have plummetted.

It is the easiest way for Riley to win, of course – for me to be unable to defend myself because I cannot afford to pay my legal team.

I need around £60,000 more than I have, if I’m to be in a comfortable position – and although I’m not expecting the trial to happen until next spring, that time will creep up on us surprisingly fast.

And in September the crowdfund increased by £2,000. A good figure! But not enough if that trend continues.

If I can’t fund my defence at trial, everything we have achieved so far will be for nothing.

I know you don’t want that.

And I certainly don’t think you want that odious Twitter troll to have the last laugh!

So, please, if you can afford it:

Consider making a donation yourself, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

I know it’s a lot to ask, especially as this case is now well into its third year. But this is a fight for justice, against those who think they can buy it because they have more money.

I can’t change the system so I’m hoping that we can change their minds.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Self-styled campaigner against anti-Semitism reveals his own Islamophobia after pro-Palestine demonstration

Islamophobe: David Collier.

How revealing.

David Collier is an infamous name among those of us who have had to fight false accusations of anti-Semitism.

If you’re not familiar with him, here‘s one critique. There are many others available on the interweb.

A fellow-traveller with such commentators – it’s as bland an expression for them as any – as the @GnasherJew Twitter troll network and Rachel Riley, he is often to be seen flinging bile at people he labels anti-Semites.

And now he is hoist by his own petard.

The IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism, used by Collier’s ilk to attack others, uses, as an example, “Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.”

Another example is “Applying double standards by requiring of [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.”

Now consider Collier’s attack on the pro-Palestinian demonstration in London on June 12, together with Ali Milani’s response:

Isn’t Collier applying double standards of exactly the type that is considered racist against Jews in the IHRA definition he touts?

To paraphrase, isn’t he “requiring of Muslims a behavior not expected or demanded of any other ethnic group”?

And isn’t he also demanding that these Muslims somehow have a responsibility for “the slaughter of innocents in Yemen, the tragedy of the Uigurs, or genocide against Christians in Nigeria” by failing to protest against them?

Isn’t he trying to make them “responsible” for these “wrongdoings”? Guilt by association is a standard tactic of Collier and his crowd.

By his own standards, he has highlighted himself as a racist Islamophobe. No legitimate journalist or commentator has any business with him from now on.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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‘Machete’ attack in Hyde Park brings racists out against Sadiq Khan – but it’s really Priti Patel’s fault

Tory policy: the ‘stock’, to which Patel’s satirical comment refers, are you and me – ordinary people. Tories don’t think of you as human beings like them, therefore crime against you is of no concern to them at all.

The best law-enforcement in the world won’t stop some crime – and the best way to encourage it is to blame the wrong people for it.

So today, after an individual was attacked by a gang wielding weapons that some have claimed included foot-long knives and a machete, the racist right-wingers were out in force on the social media, blaming London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

Policing isn’t his primary function. That job went to Tory Home Secretary Priti Patel. And the fact that there are 20,000 fewer police on your streets is the responsibility of a previous Tory Home Secretary (and later prime minister), Theresa May.

Get your priorities right, or a bad situation will get worse.

Sadly, too many people seem to have their priorities wrong – led by a rabid far-right political activist called Darren Grimes.

This product of a broken culture is a former Brexit campaigner who was nearly fineed £20,000 for breaking electoral spending rules and lying on the declaration form – but was let off after he said the form had confused him.

Is he similarly confused about the questionable politics of his internet platform Reasoned, which seeks to attact people who “hide [their] political views for fear of being called homophobic, a TERF (transphobic], [or] racist”?

It seems to This Writer that such a site will attract exactly that kind of person – especially after he published an interview on that platform in which historian David Starkey said slavery was not genocide, “otherwise there wouldn’t be so many damn blacks in Africa or in Britain, would there?”

Grimes said he hadn’t “caught” the comment before publishing it, which does not excuse him from the fact that it was published. Perhaps he was just confused about what constitutes racism?

Given the considerable confusion in his past, it seems entirely reasonable for Grimes to be confused about who is responsible for policing in London. Fortunately, we have more rational social media users to put him straight:

Sadly the damage has been done and lunatics are springing up to blame the recently re-elected London Mayor (it seems some of them are smarting that the Tory racist didn’t get in) for an incident that he could not have prevented even if he had all the police in the country at his disposal; they can’t be everywhere.

I know Vox Political readers won’t be fooled by any of this nonsense. But for the benefit of weaker-minded souls who might need help, let’s have a few words from people who understand the situation better than the far-right headbangers:

This Writer just hopes that the hysteria whipped up by right-wing racists hasn’t diverted attention away from the politician who should be telling us why she is allowing this violent crime to happen in one of the UK’s most famous public spaces.

So, what do you have to say for yourself, Priti Patel?

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Israel’s CULL in Palestine: a campaign of lies?

The Israel-Palestine conflict is not about Jewish survival: many Jews actively protest against the persecution of Palestinians by the extremist government of a nation state that claims to represent all Jews, whether they support it or not.

This observation from the social media about the Israel-Palestine conflict rings true:

As I write, Israel is most likely raining dozens – or hundreds – of bombs onto carefully-targeted (we’ll come back to this) sites in Palestinian territory, while Palestinians can only respond (you can hardly call it retaliation) by firing a few fireworks back.

Don’t get me wrong – fireworks can be deadly. But the resulting casualties have been equivalent to one of the more damaging Bonfire Nights of the 1960s or 70s, when people were less observant of the Fireworks Code. Palestinian deaths and injuries number in their thousands.

The scale of the imbalance makes the US media claim ridiculous: It is not a war; it is a cull.

The following tweet provides a few figures supporting this assertion. The number of deaths is not enough to support claims of genocide. But those numbers do speak for themselves:

The exact numbers in the current situation are debatable – as always in an ongoing situation:

A war on children?

Let’s consider who the Israeli Defence Force has been targeting:

The evidence seems clear: Israeli forces have clearly and positively targeted Palestinian families – civilians – for murder. Consider the response if the shoe was on the other foot and an overwhelmingly strong Palestine was treating Israeli Jews in the same way:

But there’s more: Israeli forces aren’t just targeting civilians and children.

You’ll have read in the tweets above that a clinic run by Medicins Sans Frontieres, an independent, humanitarian medical organisation, has also been struck. It’s not the only medical facility to have been hit; its staff are not the only medical staff to be harmed:

Does that seem an extreme judgement? “They want to kill most of them and let Covid do the rest”?

But then, why target a Covid-19 testing lab at all, if not for that purpose?

The Israeli government has been swift to counter the evidence with its usual claim – that Palestinian terrorists are hiding behind children.

This has been debunked as a racist lie:

One of the sites where the Israeli government claimed Hamas had been hiding was an office building housing news broadcasters Al-Jazeera and AP News – the Associated Press. The latter is one of the most well-established and -respected news agencies in the world, and its comment on the bombing is damning:

The last line refers, in This Writer’s opinion, to the intention of this particular airstrike: “The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what tranpired today.”

Isn’t that exactly what the Israeli government would want, as it targets civilians including children for murder?

Al-Jazeera has also commented – that Israel had still provided no evidence of any Hamas presence in the building, two days after the strike:

As a journalist of more than a quarter of a century’s experience, I find it interesting that Benjamin Netanyahu’s people feel the need to attack news reporters; to hide what they’re doing.

News media around the world have already given Israel the easiest ride possible during what can only be seen as an infamous, scandalous slaughter:

See what I mean?

There is now evidence showing that attempts to promote balanced reporting of the situation are being suppressed by supporters of the Israeli government.

For example, Canadian journalists are currently being pursued for signing an open letter calling for balanced reporting of the situation.

The letter criticises the “lack of nuanced” coverage.  “Some groups believe the attacks amount to an ‘ethnic cleansing.’ It should be covered as such,” it says.

“It’s time for Canadian newsrooms to carry out the necessary due diligence and report on this region with nuance and context.”

Pro-Israel organisations have been quick to attack the letter – and any journalist signing it, leading to the ridiculous situation of reporters being forced to defend something that it is our duty to provide: fair, balanced reporting:

See, being told your lack of objectivity means you can’t cover a story, when the grounds for saying you lack objectivity include your demand for objectivity, is perverse.

Below, we see the US pro-Jewish newspaper Algemeiner demanding that Canadian journalists who signed the letter should not be allowed to report on the “Arab-Israeli” conflict (the wording in quotation marks indicates this organisation’s own bias) because they have anti-Israeli bias. Isn’t it more accurate to say that Algemeiner fears balanced reporting that might present Israel in a less-than-glowing light of positivity?

This is the same organisation that gave UK daytime TV parlour game-player and repeat libel litigant Rachel Riley a “Warrior for Truth” award, the value of which I think we may all now question.

The Israeli government itself appears to run an organisations dedicated to disinformation – and to discrediting those who try to publish fair and accurate reports on the Israel-Palestine question:

I remember discovering adverts by this organisation on Google Adsense. If I recall corrrectly, readers of This Site had discovered that Act.Il had bought space here so that this organisation could make false claims about it.

I blocked it from advertising here. There’s no point in doing anything else like taking court action – it’s an organisation based in a foreign country, with a lot of that country’s money behind it (as I understand it), and I don’t have the means to deliver upon it the justice it deserves.

I can certainly sympathise with the sentiment in this tweet, though:

And it seems reporters aren’t the only ones being attacked:

And still, in the UK, many of our MPs are refusing to condemn Israel. Read the letter Labour’s Lisa Nandy sent to Dominic Raab and you’ll see it is disproportionate – it blames Palestinians equally with Israelis for a situation that has been forced on them.

Robert Jenrick has been roundly criticised for a mealy-mouthed propaganda routine in which he said anti-Zionism was anti-Semitism. Zionism is a racist ideology which the Israeli government uses to force Palestinians off the geographical area it defines as Israel (as opposed to the land given for the purposes of providing Jewish people with a nation of their own in the 1940s).

There are many anti-Zionist Jews. None of them are self-hating; none are anti-Semites. So Jenrick deserved the following critiques:

There are a few honourable MPs, though…

And of course they can’t do anything about grassroots protest:

It is hugely encouraging that so many people are arguing against the Israeli government’s web of lies.

But still the killings continue. Still civilians are targeted in their homes – including children – by an Israeli government and military that does not care what we think and will counter our facts with falsehoods that it can rely on the international media to parrot.

So who do you believe?

Do you believe a group of well-spoken suit-wearing dissemblers?

Or do you believe the person who wrote the following?

The answer should be so obvious it isn’t even a choice.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Will Rachel Riley use her drubbing in the Appeal Court to play the victim (AGAIN)?

The arena: Riley v Sivier is now to head back to the Royal Courts of Justice in London for a trial. It seems Riley, who initiated the case, is now trying to get people to see her as a victim of it.

What a reaction to This Writer’s Court of Appeal victory over Rachel Riley!

After a tribunal of judges reinstated my “public interest” defence, it meant the case could go to trial – and the public got behind that idea in a big way.

From Friday afternoon onwards, my Twitter feed has been full of messages of support – thousands of them – offering me support and voicing the authors’ opinions about Ms Riley and her lawsuit. Here are a few examples:

As you can see, a significant proportion of the responses are, at the very least, highly critical of Rachel Riley.

Back when the appeal hearing took place, she also received a high volume of criticism and, only the day after, her husband Pasha Kovalev was in the Mirror saying that it could harm the health of their second child:

Countdown star Rachel, 35, has suffered vile anti-Semitic abuse and told the Mirror this week how trolls have “become part of my daily life”.

Yesterday her name was a trending topic on Twitter, swamped with negative messages.

She has previously told how she became “very stressed and upset” over such abuse while pregnant with first child Maven, now 16 months, adding: “My baby stopped wriggling for a couple of days.”

At the time she blocked trolls, deciding engaging online was “not worth the hormones”.

But now, as the couple expect their second baby in autumn, Pasha is calling out the “acidity” of social media platforms as he fears the same happening again.

There certainly are trolls out there. I have suffered the attentions of some of them, among the mountain of praise I’ve had over the last couple of days. I’m sure Riley has received a number of messages that go beyond reasonable criticism and I certainly do not condone such behaviour. I never have.

But for the sake of clarity, and with no prejudice against Mr Kovalev (whose work on Strictly Come Dancing was much enjoyed by me, and who I understand also does a lot for charity): if Rachel Riley is experiencing the health issues described by the Mirror, as a result of tweets expressing critical opinions in the light of my case, my view is that that has been her choice.

As far as I’m aware, nobody forced her to behave in objectionable ways on Twitter, to such a degree that people have responded harshly in return.

Nobody forced her to sue me.

And nobody is forcing her to persist with her case against me.

As it seems clear that she is pushing ahead with it, then she has made a decision that will attract criticism, and she is perfectly aware of that.

So, in my opinion, if her child’s health is in any way endangered because of her emotional reaction to critical tweets about her court case against me, then that is her responsibility and nobody else’s.

Now, it seems, we are being asked to sympathise with her over the costs she has incurred. I read in some of our favourite right-wing papers this weekend that Riley’s legal bill could exceed £1 million:

Leading defamation lawyer Mark Stephens said Ms Riley is likely to have spent up to £70,000 in her fight so far.

Mr Stephens… added that the star could ultimately spend more than £1million on the case and said a full-scale libel trial ‘as an absolute floor is £500,000’.

He added: ‘If she wins she will get some costs back but she has lost this round so she will have to pay Mike Sivier’s costs and his barrister for the appeal which will be [£15,000] – £20,000.’

I think he’s more or less right about the “absolute floor” cost of the trial. My own costs are creeping up to the £200,000 mark and I know that her lawyers are charging much more than mine (although they appear to be supported by insurance, while I must rely on crowdfunding).

If her legal team is more expensive, then it seems unlikely that she has spent only £70,000 so far. Her legals tried to bill me £27,000 for the strike-out application alone (we objected to this, and my win on Friday is likely to have changed the argument on costs considerably).

But it seems odd to seek public sympathy over the amount she is having to spend. She is a millionaire, by all accounts. I am a carer, writing Vox Political in order to make enough money to scrape a living. Without the support I have received from thousands of people via the CrowdJustice fund, I would not have been able to fight her lawsuit.

And I do still believe that her intention all along was never to go as far as a trial. I think she expected to be able to bankrupt me, solely with the threat of an enormously expensive trial.

So articles like that in the Mail, that seem to be asking for public sympathy over the costs a millionaire is facing in suing a relatively penniless carer… well, they lack credibility, I think.

am still relatively penniless, by the way. I’m not likely to receive any costs payout for winning the appeal because Riley still won much of the strike-out application, and my income declined sharply during the Covid-19 crisis and is only beginning to pick up again now.

You are therefore – as ever – invited to continue donating to my appeal, if and when you can afford it:

Consider making a donation yourself, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

I don’t have armies of reporters in the right-wing media, lining up to provide supportive puff pieces for me.

But the reaction I’ve had this weekend shows I do have the support of thousands upon thousands of people.

As the poem states: we are many; they are few.

And while they may be able to shout louder, and get more attention, they don’t have good arguments. We do.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Online Harms Bill could be Johnson government’s only USEFUL new law

Social media trolls could be neutered by incoming Online Harms legislation by the Tory government. It could be the most useful thing Boris Johnson ever does.

I’m not just publishing the above headline because, if the Online Harms Bill had been an active law in 2019, Rachel Riley’s followers – and allegedly Riley herself – would have been prevented from abusing a teenage girl with mental health issues who supported Jeremy Corbyn.

There are some very good ideas in here, including a demand that political content must be policed impartially, which is startling.

Consider:

All social media sites, websites, apps and other services hosting user-generated content or allowing people to talk to others online will have a duty of care towards their users so that what is unacceptable offline will also be unacceptable online.

They will need to consider the risks their sites may pose to the youngest and most vulnerable people and act to protect children from inappropriate content and harmful activity.

They will need to take robust action to tackle illegal abuse, including swift and effective action against hate crimes, harassment and threats directed at individuals and keep their promises to users about their standards.

The largest and most popular social media sites will need to act on content that is lawful but still harmful such as abuse that falls below the threshold of a criminal offence, encouragement of self-harm and mis/disinformation.

The final legislation… will contain provisions that require companies to report child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA) content identified on their services.

That takes care of the kind of abuse received by the teenage girl in Rachel Riley’s libel case against me (from Riley’s supporters), and also of the gaslighting (allegedly) carried out against her by Riley herself.

All in-scope companies will need to consider and put in place safeguards for freedom of expression when fulfilling their duties.

People using their services will need to have access to effective routes of appeal for content removed without good reason and companies must reinstate that content if it has been removed unfairly. Users will also be able to appeal to Ofcom.

Category 1 services [the largest and most popular social media sites] will need to conduct and publish up-to-date assessments of their impact on freedom of expression and demonstrate they have taken steps to mitigate any adverse effects.

These measures remove the risk that online companies adopt restrictive measures or over-remove content in their efforts to meet their new online safety duties. An example of this could be AI moderation technologies falsely flagging innocuous content as harmful, such as satire.

Content on news publishers’ websites is not in scope. This includes both their own articles and user comments on these articles.

Articles by recognised news publishers shared on in-scope services will be exempted and Category 1 companies will now have a statutory duty to safeguard UK users’ access to journalistic content shared on their platforms.

This means they will have to consider the importance of journalism when undertaking content moderation, have a fast-track appeals process for journalists’ removed content, and will be held to account by Ofcom for the arbitrary removal of journalistic content. Citizen journalists’ content will have the same protections as professional journalists’ content.

This is handy for people like This Writer, who have had our accounts on Twitter (for example) suspended because of vexatious complaints by (in my case) people who described themselves as supporters of Riley.

Ministers have added new and specific duties to the Bill for Category 1 services to protect content defined as ‘democratically important’. This will include content promoting or opposing government policy or a political party ahead of a vote in Parliament, election or referendum, or campaigning on a live political issue.

Companies will also be forbidden from discriminating against particular political viewpoints and will need to apply protections equally to a range of political opinions, no matter their affiliation. Policies to protect such content will need to be set out in clear and accessible terms and conditions and firms will need to stick to them or face enforcement action from Ofcom.

When moderating content, companies will need to take into account the political context around why the content is being shared and give it a high level of protection if it is democratically important.

For example, a major social media company may choose to prohibit all deadly or graphic violence. A campaign group could release violent footage to raise awareness about violence against a specific group. Given its importance to democratic debate, the company might choose to keep that content up, subject to warnings, but it would need to be upfront about the policy and ensure it is applied consistently.

This is the part that amazes me, coming as it does from a right-wing – fascist – government.

As with everything in politics, the proof of its usefulness is in practice, so I can’t give it my unqualified support.

On paper, it means the court case currently taking up a certain unwanted amount of my time won’t happen again, because the abuse caused to the teenager at its centre would break the law.

Whether the activities provoking that abuse would also be against the new law is an element that may have to be tested, though.

I think we can all look forward to some interesting debates on this in the Commons, where I hope MPs will examine how the new legislation would relate to some of the more infamous online incidents in recent history…

Including those involving me.

Source: Landmark laws to protect children and stop abuse online published – GOV.UK

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Support Caroline: she’s launched a crowdfunder for court action against ‘celebrities’ who libelled her

A woman who was flamed off Twitter for expressing a perfectly reasonable opinion has launched a crowdfund to support legal action against the perpetrators.

Caroline Eastell, who posts as @LouLouFell on the social media platform, suffered vile abuse from the actress Tracy-Ann Oberman and other “celebrity” Twitter users, simply because she said she didn’t enjoy seeing Oberman in a TV drama.

Here’s what Caroline wrote:

“It’s a sin was doing so well then I saw Tracy Ann Oberman left a bad taste in my mouth … trying to quickly forget I’ve seen her.”

Oberman’s response:

“Caroline do you think that YOU may be one of those intolerant bigots that Russell is talking about in #itsasin

“Seems you’ve missed the entire point of the series. You and the rest of this thread. Oh dear. @cst @UKLabour @LabourAgainstAS”

As I explained at the time: “The @ tags at the end of Oberman’s tweet are significant. She was tagging in the Community Security Trust and Labour Against Anti-Semitism – both highly vocal self-proclaimed crusaders against anti-Semitism (although both could equally well be described as witch-hunters against people targeted with false claims) along with the Labour Party, because ‘Caroline’ could be seen holding a Labour membership card in her profile picture.

“The implication is clear: Oberman wanted to brand ‘Caroline’ an anti-Semite and she wanted to bring Labour’s attention to it. In order to provoke disciplinary action, perhaps? Because this person had expressed an opinion about her appearance in a TV show. Overkill?”

Use of those tags seems to have worked, as attention was attracted to Caroline’s tweet and she suffered a humiliating and entirely undeserved dogpile. Eventually, Twitter suspended her account – even though she had done nothing wrong. Expressing an opinion about an actress does not justify a ban.

Some of the abuse she received might have been enough for those responsible to have been banned themselves, though – but they are “blue-tick” Twitter users and therefore seem to be above the rules.

Perhaps that is the reason Caroline has decided to take the matter to court. She has launched a crowdfunding page for this purpose and I would urge Vox Political readers to support her if possible. She writes:

As a consequence of being defamed on social media, I have decided to make a stand and instruct libel solicitors to take action against the abuse that I received.

But I can’t do it on my own, I need your financial support.

Those who  attacked me are more powerful and continue to act with impunity.

So please stand with me, It is only when we stand together that we beat them.

Oberman threatened to sue This Writer for libel when I published an article pointing out the way she harassed a teenage girl with mental health problems, on Twitter. Eventually she left the legal action to her pal Rachel Riley, and I had to launch my own crowdfund. So far, it has raised – and spent – more than an eighth of a million pounds, and the court battle is still going on.

But I would not have been able to fight at all, without that support.

So I agree that it is only by standing together that ordinary people like Caroline and myself can have any hope of defeating the super-rich in a court system that pays more attention to money than to evidence.

Please support Caroline. Details of her page are below.

Source: Fundraiser by Caroline Eastell : I Stand with Caroline.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


Vox Political needs your help!
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1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

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If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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