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Online abuse to be debated by MPs

23 February 2022

On Monday 28 February, MPs will debate petitions relating to online abuse

Catherine McKinnell MP, Chair of the Petitions Committee, has been asked by the Committee to open the debate. MPs from all parties can take part, and Chris Philp MP, Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy, will respond for the Government.

Hold online trolls accountable for their online abuse via their IP address

The petition, which has more than 133,000 signatures, states: “It’s far too easy for online trolls to just create another email address and another social media account if they have their accounts suspended.”

In response to the petition, provided on 24 September 2019, the Government said: “Unacceptable behaviour and content is far too prevalent online. The Online Harms White Paper sets out our plans for world-leading legislation to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online.”

Make verified ID a requirement for opening a social media account

The petition, which has more than 696,000 signatures, states: “Make it a legal requirement when opening a new social media account, to provide a verified form of ID. Where the account belongs to a person under the age of 18 verify the account with the ID of a parent/guardian, to prevent anonymised harmful activity, providing traceability if an offence occurs.”

In response to the petition, provided on 5 May 2021, the Government said: “The Online Safety legislation will address anonymous harmful activity. User ID verification for social media could disproportionately impact vulnerable users and interfere with freedom of expression.”

‘Tackling Online Abuse’ inquiry

The debate follows the recent publication of the Petitions Committee’s report into Tackling Online Abuse. In the report, the Committee made a number of recommendations to the Government on actions it should take to keep social media users safe online.

The Petitions Committee have submitted the report to the Government for consideration, and expects to receive a prompt response from the Government on this issue.

What are petitions debates?

Petitions debates are 'general' debates which allow MPs from all parties to discuss the important issues raised by one or more petitions, and put their concerns to Government Ministers.

Further information

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