Petition To Make ID A Requirement For Social Media Hits More Than 600,000 Signatures
In the wake of the racist abuse Black England footballers have received, people are campaigning for social media to require ID before opening an account.
The petition was originally created by model and TV personality Katie Price following online abuse her disabled son has received, but it has gained traction in light of some social media users trolling the likes of Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka.
The three England players missed their penalties on Sunday, July 11, in the Euro 2020 Final against Italy. Following the national team’s defeat, the players were inundated with racial abuse – some from accounts with no name or face, giving racist commenters the anonymity they don’t deserve.
With this in mind, Katie Price’s petition has resurfaced with many calling for ID to be required when setting up an account so people can be held accountable for what they say online.
The description of the petition written by Price reads:
My son Harvey is disabled. He is also the kind and gentle son of a person regularly in the public eye. The Online Harms Bill doesn’t go far enough in making online abuse a specific criminal offence and doing what ‘Harvey’s Law’ intended. To make the law work needs the removal of anonymity to ensure that users cannot cause harm by using online platforms to abuse others.
Where an offence has taken place they ought to be easily identified and reported to the police and punished. We have experienced the worst kind of abuse towards my disabled son and want to make sure that no one can hide behind their crime.
With the new, more recent focus on the petition, it now sits at more than 600,000 signatures at the time of writing.
Several celebrities, including Line of Duty‘s Vicky McClure, have shared the petition on social media. She wrote alongside the link, ‘Get this signed & retweeted. Make verified ID a requirement for opening a social media account.’
‘This can only help to monitor trolls for all kinds of abuse. Surely we have the technology to make this safe for all,’ McClure added in a follow up tweet.
The government responded to the petition in May saying it was going to do something about harmful online activity, but two months later it’s still an ongoing issue.
Part of the response posted on the petition read, ‘The government recognises concerns linked to anonymity online, which can sometimes be exploited by bad actors seeking to engage in harmful activity. However, restricting all users’ right to anonymity, by introducing compulsory user verification for social media, could disproportionately impact users who rely on anonymity to protect their identity.’
The government also expressed concerns that prohibiting people from being anonymous online could cause ‘serious restriction of [people’s] online experience’.
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