Cardiff MP Anna McMorrin calls for action after ‘torrent’ of ‘deeply, deeply disturbing’ online abuse
A Welsh Labour MP has called for action by tech companies after detailing her own “deeply, deeply disturbing” experiences of online abuse.
Labour’s Anna McMorrin spoke about the “torrent” of online abuse she, her family and other MPs had faced.
The MP for Cardiff North called on the Government to “put violence against women and girls on the face of the Bill” during the Commons report stage debate of the Online Safety Bill.
She said: “As a female MP, I and I’m not alone here, along with my colleagues have faced a torrent of abuse online, attacking me both personally and professionally.
“Images being sent to me such as someone with a noose around their neck… as well as numerous messages, antisemitic abuse, misogyny towards both me and my children.
“It is deeply, deeply disturbing, but also it’s unsurprising that one in five women across the country have also been subject to online abuse and I would actually guess that that figure is much, much higher.”
She added: “We need this action to come within legislation to make sure that these tech companies take action. There is a very, very dark side to the Internet and one which is deeply, deeply rooted in misogyny.”
She went on: “Violence against women and girls is an ever-growing epidemic and time is running out. This Government is more concerned with piecemeal actions that fail to tackle the root cause of the issue.”
SNP Joanna Cherry (Edinburgh South West) raised the online abuse she had received as she called on Twitter to “apply its moderation policy evenly across society”.
Intervening during Ms McMorrin’s speech, Ms Cherry said: “I’m really sorry to hear about the abuse that she and her family have received.
“Many women inside (and without) this chamber such as myself have received terrible abuse on Twitter, including repeated threats to shoot us if we don’t shut the f*** up.
“Twitter refuses to take down memes of a hand, a real human hand pointing a gun at me and other feminists and lesbians telling us to shut the f*** up,” she continued, spelling out the swear word.
She added: “Does she see the force of my amendment to make sure that Twitter apply its moderation policy evenly across society with regard to all protected characteristics including sex?”
Labour’s Dame Margaret Hodge (Barking) called for action on anonymous abuse detailing her own experiences.
She told MPs: “There is a lack of understanding and knowledge really about the extent of anonymous abuse.”
She spoke of “the 90,000 postings” she had received in a two-month period, adding: “I think most of them were anonymous and most of them were abusive. Certainly, there is public support for trying to tackle abusive postings.”
Her amendment she said was “based on strong commitment to protect anonymity especially for vulnerable groups, but we do seek to tackle anonymous abuse, but not by denying anonymity, but by ensuring what we call traceability”.
She added: “It’s only if and when an individual posts something which breaks the law, at that point the individual will lose their right to anonymity.”
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