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Rylan Clark-Neal calls for Twitter verification process to weed out trolls

The TV star said he frequently faces online abuse.

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Rylan Clark-Neal (Ian West/PA)

Rylan Clark-Neal (Ian West/PA)

Rylan Clark-Neal (Ian West/PA)

Rylan Clark-Neal has called for social media platforms to add verification steps to weed out vicious trolls.

The TV star said he regularly receives death threats and faces homophobic slurs on Twitter, and he would like technology companies verify users, as they already do with the blue tick system, to make it possible to trace the sources of abuse.

He told the PA news agency: “I would love to see a world of social media where everyone was verified to some extent, to the point where you may need some form of ID verification to have an account.

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Rylan Clark-Neal (Ian West/PA)

Rylan Clark-Neal (Ian West/PA)

PA Archive/PA Images

Rylan Clark-Neal (Ian West/PA)

“I think that would really change social media for the better because the people that use social media the right way, it won’t affect them but the people that use social media the extreme wrong ways, it will get rid of them, it will eliminate it.”

He added: “That is not stopping people having an opinion, absolutely not, that is what the whole platform is for, if you don’t like someone you don’t like someone, but what it will do is it will make people think about what they will say.

“By all means people, even if they are verified, can still tweet me and say ‘Ugh he’s so talentless’, that’s fine, but when people are saying ‘I’m going to come for you and cut your throat’ and things like this, would they be saying that if they knew that they were completely traceable because they were a verified account because the platform will have their identification? No I don’t think they would.

“And if they did they would have to take the consequences of that. I don’t think it eliminates free speech, I think it eliminates arseholes.”

Clark-Neal was speaking ahead of his Thread Talks performance at Samsung KX, the technology firm’s venue in London’s King Cross, which hosts tech tutorials, health and wellbeing sessions and other classes.

He will address his experiences on social media and will even read out some of the rude messages he has received.

He said: “We live in a world where it’s very easy to be traceable, big brother is a reality now, so I think accounts should be accounted for.

“You can still be anonymous in the public domain, the only place that you would be able to be traced is through your server. I’m not saying anyone’s name and address should be on their profile, absolutely not, but if someone is making genuine threats, or harassing someone or stalking someone, when you make that complaint through the platform, it can be quite easily traced to who it is.”

Clark-Neal said despite any abuse he receives, he still loves Twitter because it keeps things in perspective.

He said: “I don’t live in the world of the block button, I don’t want to live in the world of the block button.

“Trolling is wrong, but I do quite like knowing that not everyone likes me and I actually quite like knowing that I can change people’s opinions.

“I think that is what I’ve been doing for nearly eight years now, if I literally had a penny for every time someone said ‘Ah, I used to think you were a right this or a right that but now I really like you or you’re not what I thought you were…’.

“I like seeing people say it.”

Clark-Neal’s Thread Talk is on January 22 at 8pm at Samsung KX.

PA