Beth Tweddle: Public 'should report online abuse'

The public has a key role to play helping social media giants tackle abusive trolls, Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle says.
 
  • video Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle has fought her own battle with online abusers
    Last updated: 11 February 2014, 11:57 GMT

    The public has a key role to play helping social media giants tackle abusive trolls, Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle says.

    The Dancing On Ice star, who had her own run-in with Twitter abusers in January, said people should help Facebook, Twitter and others by reporting abuse if they see it being aimed at others online.

    She also called on potential trolls to think before they post offensive messages - and ask themselves if they would want their grandmother to see what they'd written.

    "For me, Facebook and Twitter are all massive sites, they have got the key features of reporting it (abuse) - you can email them or you can get hold of them to say you have had a problem with the site.

    "But it is also a case of the general public helping them - if they see something they are not happy with or they feel it is abuse against them or someone else then report it.

    "These sites are so big it is hard to manage every single message that is sent.

    "Between the companies themselves and the general public hopefully we can start to get rid of this problem."

    Tweddle, 28, who won bronze at the London 2012 Olympics, is supporting Safer Internet Day today.

    The global annual event, whose UK arm is organised by the UK Safer Internet Centre, promotes the safe and responsible use of online technology and mobile phones for children and young people

    Tweddle was targeted by Twitter trolls who made sexist remarks in January after taking part in an online question and answer session with Sky television.

    However, after scores of her fans rounded on the perpetrators, many of them contacted her directly to apologise.

    She said that she has had rude comments on Twitter and Facebook in the past but has learned to ignore it - helped by getting "20 to 100 that were really nice" for each offensive one.

    She urged young people to think carefully before putting anything online, from photos and personal information, to anything which might be deemed offensive.

    "I just want to educate anyone who uses the internet for Facebook or for any other social media - it is just a case of 'when you send that, before you press send, how far do you want it to go?' If your nan saw it, would she be pleased with it?

    "There are things these days like Snapchat that kids think once you once you've sent it is disappears but actually it takes two second to get that screen grab.

    "Just think before you tweet or send a message."

    In January Isabella Sorley, 23, and John Nimmo, 25, were jailed for bombarding feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez with rape and death threats on Twitter last year after she led a successful campaign using social media for a female figure to appear on a Bank of England note.

    Last updated: 11 February 2014, 11:57 GMT

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