The government has launched an anti-trolling website offering practical tips to people who find themselves the victims of online abuse.
The new site will advise victims how to identify abuse, report offences and how to seek help, and is primarily aimed at women and the LGBT community, as they are those most affected by online abuse.
Extreme online ‘trolling’ has increased dramatically with the growth of social media and The Stop Online Abuse site, launched today, offers help to people facing online harassment, revenge porn, hate speech, sexual harassment and blackmail.
It also provides legal advice and practical tips on how to respond to derogatory and abusive comments online, in addition to how to deal with ‘doxxing’ (ie. revenge porn) and ‘cyberstalking’.
The site explains that “it is often obvious that someone is behaving in an abusive way, but it’s not always clear where the boundary falls between expressing a point of view and being abusive”.
It sets out the line between free speech and abuse, explaining how under the law, “one person’s right to expression is limited by a balance with another person’s right not to be threatened or abused”.
A section of the site is dedicated to tackling online sexism, noting that while both men and women experience abuse online, “one of the significant factors of online abuse for women is the frequent use of threats of sexual violence and derogatory comments about women’s appearance and bodies”.
Although there is a lot more which needs to be done to tackle online abuse, this is at least a step in the right direction!