Stirling MP backs ‘Stop the Hate’ campaign

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Stirling MP Alyn Smith has pledged support to the ‘Stop the Hate’ campaign, which seeks to bring an end to online bullying, harassment and abuse.

The coalition is led by Compassion in Politics, More United and the Centenary Action Group, alongside a cross-party group of MPs representing SNP, Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and The Green Party.

‘Stop the Hate’ campaigners have proposed several changes to the current UK Government Online Harms Bill to ensure it is effective in stopping online abuse.

These changes include: require social media companies to have a duty of care for their users, take action to reduce the number and influence of anonymous accounts, and ensure newspapers are responsible for removing abusive comments posted below their articles.

The campaign has also called for the establishment of a well-funded independent organisation to oversee UK social media companies.

Commenting on the campaign, Alyn Smith said: “No one should be subject to online abuse, harassment or hate.”

“I condemn all forms of online abuse and welcome the proposals from ‘Stop the Hate’ to ensure any proposed UK legislation in this space is fit for purpose, proportionate and tackles the issues highlighted

“Online platforms have become crucial civic spaces in recent years, allowing the sharing of information, news and views faster than ever before. I’ve seen first-hand the influence bad actors can have in polluting debate with toxic, anonymous abuse. We wouldn’t stand for some of what’s been said in a real-life town hall debate, and neither should we in the digital equivalent

“Any regulation must absolutely be balanced with the need to uphold the right to freedom of speech. Nuance will be key, and I recognise concerns raised about censorship. But likewise, it’s clear we cannot continue with a wild-west approach, especially as the influence of such social media companies continues to grow year-on-year

“Accountability is a key component to rebuilding trust and faith in these spaces as ones conductive to healthy democratic debate, not the playground of malign state actors, anonymous trolls and toxic abuse.”

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Featured Image Credit: Stirling SNP

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News Editor at Brig Newspaper
Fourth year Journalism Studies at the University of Stirling

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