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Vicious trolls should lose anonymity, says Labour MP

By Rod Minchin

A Labour MP who has been the victim of vicious abuse by trolls on social media has called for them to lose their anonymity online.

Jess Phillips said Parliament needs to act against the anonymous trolls who abuse her on a daily basis.

The Birmingham Yardley MP said she wanted to see changes which would mean that account holders would have to disclose their real identity to Facebook and Twitter, although they could still post messages anonymously.

Over the weekend, Security Minister Ben Wallace said digital IDs should be brought in to end online anonymity that permits bullying and grooming.

It comes after Prime Minister Theresa May used the G7 Summit to call for the tech giants to clamp down on vile attacks against women on their platforms.

Speaking at the Cheltenham Science Festival, Ms Phillips said: "In my own experience, the violence and aggression I am threatened with every single day has its peaks and troughs depending on what I'm talking about.

"If you speak from a feminist perspective, which I very frequently do, you will suffer from a huge amount of internet trolling, largely from what seems to be the Alt Right. The other sort of trolling MPs suffer is issue-based or ideologically-based, whether you agree with Jeremy Corbyn or not, which is a classic reason to be trolled mercilessly."

She said the police had issued harassment orders against two individuals for "constantly emailing me with bile and abuse".

"I take it as water off a duck's back and I don't ever think anyone is going to physically hurt me, even though I have received emails, Twitter comments and Facebook diatribes," she said.

"In one night I received 600 rape threats. It was probably more, but I stopped counting.

"I have come to the viewpoint that I don't think people should be allowed to be completely anonymous online any more."

Earlier this year, the Government announced plans to introduce new laws, including a mandatory social media code of practice.

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