This post was originally published on this site

Via @glynbeddau

There surely must be a line between “robust criticism”  and abusive behaviour and bullying on social media.

I am no fan of  The Cardiff South and Penarth MP  Stephen as I consider him to be a Red-Tory Unionist, but he is right to questions Facebook policy   and it and other social media  that the platforms are “not doing enough” about the problem after Facebook told him an abusive message did not violate its own rules.


The Cardiff South and Penarth MP was told by Facebook that an abusive message, which used strong language, did “not violate our policies”.
In a message, the site said the type of activity he had reported “would, broadly speaking, qualify as bullying behaviour”.

“However, we do not apply our bullying policies to public figures because we want to allow discourse, which often includes critical discussion of people who are featured in the news or have a large public audience.”

He was sent a message which read: “Steven Doughty [sic], I now weigh 232 pounds, which is far too much, but I’m hoping is less than you, you fat murderous c***”.


Interestingly the commentator  seems to be using the American use for describing someones weight rather than Stones and Pounds.
Mr Doughty said that social media sites including Twitter and Facebook were becoming “increasingly difficult” and said they had to “get a grip”.
He said: 

“I have no issue with people strongly criticising my views on any issue but I draw the line at abusive and threatening behaviour or harassment of me or my staff.
“Facebook and Twitter are very variable about how they respond. Sometimes swift and sensibly, other times not, as in this case. I was particularly shocked by their response that suggests that we should accept a higher level of abuse as public figures.
“Facebook, Twitter and the like need to get a grip and stop justifying their failures to act on abuse, harassment, and online extremism – whoever it is directed at – in the name of ‘free speech’.
“The sewer that the online world is becoming has real world consequences. Legitimising attacks and the abuse of public figures, journalists, women, Jews, Muslims and gay people and body-shaming and bullying seems to be increasingly the accepted norm – we need to fight back.”

Is there a line between calling Mr Doughty “an idiot” say and a  “fat murderous c***”? 

I think so .

Anyway he could not be the only one seeing this and his staff, family and other members of the public could also be affected by such abuse.

We need to question our politicians and other  public figures , because it is important they realise that there are people who vigorously disagree with them.


Calling an MP or AM an idiot for example and vigorously questioning their policies is but making comments about their appearance is something else.

Women of course get it much worse and many have been threatened with rape which I am sure Facebook and other social media would not rightly tolerate.
Quite frankly if you reduce yourself to that sort of abuse as  the example directed against Mr Doughty you have lost the argument.

There must be a line drawn and it may be difficult to define and administrate , but Facebook need to draw no matter who abuse is directed at.