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Report lifts the lid on scale of social media intimidation faced by election candidates.

THE lid has been lifted on the scale of intimidation faced by election candidates with the launch of a major report which will put pressure on social media companies and political parties to stamp out abuse.

There is deep concern that people are put off standing for office because of fear of the personal attacks suffered by many candidates.

The Committee on Standards in Public Life was presented with evidence showing: The committee was told that "no female MP who was active on Twitter has been free from online intimidation".

It was also presented with evidence showing that 68% of 118 Conservative candidates said they had experienced "inappropriate, intimidatory behaviour", compared to 36% of the 229 Labour candidates.

Ogmore Labour MP Chris Elmore pushed for action, saying: "The last two years have proven to be an incredibly divisive period in UK politics. The barrage of abuse directed at parliamentary candidates during the 2017 general election was totally unacceptable.

"Difference of opinion cannot and should not be an excuse to direct verbal or physical abuse at an individual or group. When people sink to such tactics, they delegitimise their arguments and make progressive change less easy to achieve."

Nick Pickles, UK Head of Public Policy for Twitter, defended the company, saying: "Abuse and harassment - no matter the victim - have no place on Twitter. As the report notes, our team uses technology to proactively find abusive content and provides users with a single report that they can email to the police."

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Dec 13, 2017
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