08 APR 2019

Social media giants must do more to tackle trolls

A family faces waiting more than a year for police to prosecute their son's killer who it is believed has been sending them abusive messages from prison.

Chloe Bednar, 17, was targeted in January this year on Snapchat. Her brother Breck was killed in 2014 after being groomed through online gaming by Lewis Daynes, who was jailed for life after pleading guilty to murder. The sickening messages sent to Chloe recount her brother's murder in graphic detail.

Kent Police is lodging a request to Snapchat to identify the accounts which sent the messages. Yet they have been advised such a request could take 12 to 18 months to process. I met with Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright last week to argue that social media giants should be forced to act more quickly.

Following the meeting, the Government published a White Paper on Online Harms today.

It pledges to "work with law enforcement to review whether the current powers are sufficient to tackle anonymous abuse online" and that they "expect companies to do substantially more to keep their users safe and counter online abuse".

The content of these messages was vile and deeply distressing for Breck's family. Chloe is just 17 years old and still grieving her brother's death.  Social media giants like Snapchat must do more to help the police bring the culprits to justice. Otherwise sick trolls will continue to pour out this poison without fear of punishment. The social media companies provide the platform for these twisted individuals to spew their hatred. It's time they took responsibility – and put a stop to it now.


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Charlie Elphicke

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