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Peers threaten Twitter trolls with tougher sanctions

People who post malicious comments on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook could face tougher penalties in future following the establishment of a House of Lords committee to investigate tougher regulations.

The panel will investigate whether stronger laws are needed to punish the authors of abusive missives and if so what form they should take following a number of high-profile cases; notably threats of rape and other offensive posts directed at Labour MP Stella Creasy who backed a campaign to have women pictured on banknotes.

Two people were jailed for their involvement in that hate campaign, joining several other trolls behind bars and many others who’ve been fined.

In a statement the committee said they were responding to the fact that many people “do not seem to realise that communications sent via social media are capable of amounting to criminal offences.”

As a result the peers will investigate whether “the steps which have already been taken to deal with these problems are sufficient, or whether further action is necessary.”

The committee must balance this need however with the concerns of civil liberties campaigners who fear an erosion of free speech.

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