Leading public figures have called on other politicians, actors and TV presenters to stop engaging with trolls online.
The Don’t Feed the Trolls campaign has been backed by former footballer Gary Linkeker, former home secretary Alan Johnson, actor Eddie Izzard and presenter Rachel Riley.
Countdown presenter Riley told how she had to block over 1,500 people on Twitter due to the amount of anti-Semitic abuse she received on the platform.
The 33-year-old has previously been vocal about the Labour party and its issues surrounding anti-Semitism and how it has been dealt with, from which she has received abuse online.
Rachel Riley (pictured above on the Victoria Derbyshire Show today) is backing a new campaign aimed at tackling trolls after she claims she had to block 1,500 people
Gary Lineker (left) and Eddie Izzard (right) have also backed the new campaign called ‘Don’t Feed the Trolls’
The new campaign was launched by the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) and will feature a guide on how to deal with offensive comments made online.
Speaking on the Victoria Derbyshire show today she said: ‘Part of the paper says that being a victim breeds more victim-hood and they will attack you more. I have had all sorts, I have had people denying my Jewish heritage, people saying that my dead granddad would be disgusted by me.
‘I’ve been compared to as a prettier version of Abu Hamza, a Nazi, a white supremacist, paedophile enabler, I mean you name it these people are saying it, I don’t need to give them any oxygen, it’s pointless.
‘In the early days from September to Christmas I was tweeting by myself and was trying to respond to everyone that contacted me and I was quite naïve. I realised there are small fringe extremists you can’t convert but I was trying to talk to the silent majority.’
She then highlighted how she had also tried to educate herself on the issues she was being trolled about in order to be well informed when responding.
Speaking on the Victoria Derbyshire Show today Riley appeared alongside the paper’s co-author Imran Ahmed
In a statement in support of the campaign she claimed that ‘Dont’ Feed the Trolls’ had ‘completely changed’ the way she interacts on Twitter.
‘Before having the knowledge it felt like not responding to the trolls was weak, and calling them out, trying to engage in conversation and education was helpful. But CCDH’s research shows otherwise and explains why.
‘I now block trolls as common practice and have changed my settings to avoid seeing much of their output, which has made my life much better from a mental health standpoint and vitally, it is not inadvertently
The new guidelines recommend muting notifications on social media platforms, as well as taking a break from social media when abuse occurs.
These recommendations come before escalating a complaint thought to be unlawful.
The research was co-written by CEO of the CCDH, Imran Ahmed and Dr Linda Papadopoulos.
The report highlights ‘Troll Propagandists’, which are trolls which use their platform to push a certain agenda.
It states: ‘Extremist ideologues know that identity-based hate is rejected by the general public in liberal societies and so they subsume its tropes and themes under politically-charged issues where the conversation seems safer.
‘Issues of common agreement between trolls and populist politicians, such as a revulsion for ‘political correctness’ or ‘corrupt’ traditional elites, is a way to start discussions that resonate with wider swathes of the public but can then be used by bad actors to inject hate.’
It also touches on the ‘Troll playbook’ and counter strategies used by trolls when they don’t get the reaction they hoped for.
As well as this it gives recommendations for the media and social media companies.
Source : Mail Online