The UK Members of Parliament that have been most affected by Internet abuse following voting for the UK to be involved in military action in Syria are those that have a prior record for condemning Internet trolling, it has been revealed.
The MPs most harshly treated by trolls include Stella Creasy and Ben Bradshaw, both of whom have been critical of those who rigorously hold them to account online.
Ben Bradshaw’s Wikipedia page was targeted, with an anonymous editor writing: “Ben Bradshaw can no longer sleep at night due to the screams of murdered children haunting his dreams and as such can be seen regulalry (sic) cycling round Exeter’s picturesque city centre at all times of the day.” Stella Creasy’s Wikipedia article was edited to call her a “Labour Co-operative politician and warmonger.”
Internet trolling and cyberstalking expert, Jonathan Bishop, says it should not be surprising that the Members of Parliament that are most against free speech would be most targeted. “Both Stella Creasy and Ben Bradshaw have a history of criticising being trolled by members of the public,” he said. “It is not unsurprising therefore that when they act in a way perceived as denying others (in Syria) the freedoms they take for granted, that they will be subject to scrutiny more so than those without a history attacking free speech online.“
A Labour MP has criticised the feedback they have received on social media following voting in the UK Parliamentary debate on taking military action in Syria.
Stella Creasy, an alternate MP elected to UK Parliament following an all-women-shortlist that prevented Labour men from standing, criticised members of the public for holding her to account on Twitter for voting in favour of military action in Syria.
The MP has already had other members of the public sent to jail for trolling her, including Peter Nunn of Bristol.
Calls have been made by some of her colleagues for Stella Creasy to resign, but the alternate MP remains defiant. “The one thing I will not do is be bullied by a sitting Walthamstow Labour councillor with the threat of deselection,” she fumed.
Ann Coffey is the Labour MP for Stockport and believes it is inappropriate to target members of the public when their behaviour is little different to those of MPs. “I think that some of the remarks made by my parliamentary colleagues have been very unfortunate,” she said. “For example, remarks made about blood on your hands, that you’ve got nowhere to hide, and I think that if you have that at the top of party what you have is permission to target MPs.“
A candidate for the deputy leadership of the Labour Party appears to have softened her approach to dealing with Internet trolls.
Stella Creasy is the UK Member of Parliament for Walthamstow and was responsible for sentencing to jail a Bristol man who questioned her sexist policies on Twitter.
Stella Creasy called for less men to appear on British banknotes, and received severe criticism from Twitter users as a result. Peter Nunn went to jail for his part in holding the Labour and Co-operative MP to account.
Now standing for deputy leader of the Labour Party, Stella Creasy has adopted a different approach to exposing trolls. Rather than reporting them to the police so that they can be arrested, interviewed and charged, she read out the comments of trolls on YouTube.
Stella Creasy quoted one member of the public as saying: “As I said to one of your team, I am a sucker for posh totty. But in all honesty, that photo doesn’t do you justice.” Another member of the public wrote: “**** off, you look like an alien egg” (profanity removed).” A further member of the public said: “If she didn’t look like she’d had more cocks than hot dinners, I’d vote for her.”
Stella Creasy has not confirmed whether she intends to have those who emailed her prosecuted like she did with Peter Nunn, but it would appear that while she is seeking to get elected as deputy Labour leader her attitude towards criminalising trolls is somewhat different. She said in the video, however, that if people voted for her as deputy leader she would review the extent to which the Labour Party is spamming others.
Internet expert, Jonathan Bishop, has said he is supporting ex-technology minister Tom Watson to be deputy Leader of The Labour Party.
Jonathan Bishop is a member of Labour’s Progressives and says Tom Watson has what it takes to bring the Labour Party into the 21st century. “Tom Watson won the Elected Representative award New Statesman new Media Awards in 2004, the same year I was a runner-up,” he said. “As a former Labour councillor, I know from first hand experience how out of date the Labour Party is when it comes to technology policy and practice, and I would like to think Tom Watson could be leading from the front.”
Jonathan Bishop, known as Dzon in politics, also commented on one of the other candidates seeking to take Watson on for the position. “Stella Creasy should not be let anywhere near position of power,” he said. “Stella Creasy lacks what it takes to be a politician in the digital age.
“If anyone disagrees with Stella Creasy on Twitter she blocks them, and has already had young people sent to jail because she lacks what it takes to have the thick skin required to take what comes with being a parliamentarian.
“If Stella Creasy were to successfully lead something, it would be the headlines for being a vindictive and incompetent excuse for a politician.“
A Bristol man has dropped his appeal against the conviction he received for the trolling on an MP elected via an all-woman-shortlist, when it became apparent his liberty could be deprived further.
Callous woman MP, Stella Creasy, had Peter Nunn, 33, convicted for sending her a “menacing” message. Second-rate Creasy does not fit the bill of a typical parliamentarian, who in Steve Rotheram MP’s words are “pachyderms with little or no feeling.” Stella Creasy perhaps feels she deserves favours from the police, following her in some people’s minds only getting in to Parliament via an all-women-shortlist, where her male rivals were not able to compete with her on merit.
Despite his appeal against his conviction, Peter Nunn dropped his claim when it became apparent there could be serious consequences if the judge was not able to understand that politicians, even women politicians, should be able to ignore abuse from the public.
David Patience is Peter Nunn’s Counsel. “This court would have had the power to vary the sentence upwards,” he told the Old Bailey. “Mr Nunn has with some reluctance decided the appropriate course was to abandon the appeal despite his view there were issues of some substance that did arise.”
Peter Nunn also sent messages to radical feminist, Caroline Criado Perez, who started a misandrist campaign to remove men from the British ten pound note. Peter Nunn has been barred from contacted either Caroline Criado-Perez or Stella Creasy, with the sitting judge, Richard Marks QC saying he hoped his judgement would be a “lesson” to Nunn.
The Labour and Co-operative Party candidate in the general election for Walthamstow has tried to “troll call” her way out of being accountable for the jailing of young people for trolling, like John Nimmo, another general election candidate has said.
Labour’s Walthamstow incumbent seeking re-election, Stella Creasy, has been accused of being a troll-caller by the Pluralist Party candidate for Liverpool Walton, Dzon, who is known professionally as Jonathan Bishop, after she blocked him for questioning the jailing of young people who trolled her.
When asked whether the people of Walthamstow knew she sent young people who trolled her to jail, Stella Creasy refused to answer. “[I] think I have asked you previously not to contact me but now saying again- and blocking you if you ignore request,” she said to trolling campaigner Dzon, known professionally as Jonathan Bishop. “well telling lies isn’t standing up for young people and neither is ignoring requests to desist so #blocked,” she then tweeted.
Dzon asked whether it was right for those seeking to be an MP to act in such a way. “Is Stella Creasy really the sort of person the people of Walthamstow want as their MP if she blocks people who disagree with her and has them convicted because she can’t stand the heat of being a politician in the digital age?,” he asked. “It is totally wrong that those in politicians public office are able to troll-call members of the public to the police and have them sent to jail simply because those politicians cannot meet the essential requirements of the job, which even in anti-trolling MP, Steve Rotheram’s words, should be ‘pachyderms with little or no feeling’ who should no let trolling ‘bother’ them.”
Cyber-stalking or just plain talking?: Investigating the linguistic properties of rape-threat messages as compulsive behaviours
Mark Beech and Jonathan Bishop
Rape call-out trolling, more commonly known as ‘rape-threat trolling,’ occurs when a person using a communication network sends a message relating to them ‘raping’ that person. Whilst this may disgust many people, this chapter finds that not all instances of rape call-out trolling is done to cause a person apprehension. The chapter finds that many Twitter users make rape threats to their friends in an affectionate way, and so appreciating the context of rape-threat messages is essential. The most notable targets of rape call-out trolling, Caroline Criado-Perez and Stella Creasy, were targeted following calling for less men to appear on British banknotes. These two findings have implications for public policy makers who are quite happy to see people go to jail for posting rape-threats when they were drunk, namely Isabella Sorley. The chapter concludes the context around rape-threat postings needs more consideration to determine what the core meanings are.
Peter Nunn, 33, of Bristol, was found guilty of sending messages of a grossly offensive, indecent or menacing character to Stella Creasy MP, who was part of a campaign calling for less men on banknotes.
Recently celebrities have been retweeting offensive messages sent to them on Twitter. Stan Collymore for instance retweeted messages containing the n-word, but faced no prosecution. Caroline Criado-Perez re-posted numerous misandrist tweets, but faced no prosecution either.
Peter Nunn believed the verdict was unjust. “It is a sad day for free speech. I will be appealing,” he said. Liverpool Walton MP Steve Rotheram is a colleague of Stella Creasy. “We all know that parliamentarians are pachyderms, with little or no feeling, so it (trolling) should not bother us,” he said.
Sentencing of Nunn has been adjourned until 29 September 2014.
The British Member of Parliament for Walthamstow has told the UK Parliament that she believes all data on the Internet should be treated equally.
Stella Creasy MP, who is a shadow minister for business, innovation and skills says that net neutrality should be an important part of government policy. “For those Members of this House who have not yet had the chance to watch the viral videos about net neutrality, let me explain the concern,” Stella Creasy said to the House of Commons. “Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers and Governments should treat all data on the internet equally,” she continued. “They should not discriminate or charge by user, content, site, platform, or application.
“In layman’s terms that means that, whether we are looking at iPlayer, Sky on the Go or Netflix, there would be equal access to services. There would be no speed differential in accessing them.”
Internet trolling expert, Jonathan Bishop, says he agrees with Stella Creasy MP’s comments. “Stella Creasy is right that all data on the Internet should be treated equally,” he said. “We cannot have the situation we are currently in where those who troll celebrities get convictions, whereas the same forms of trolling against members of the public go unprosecuted.
“The law is very clear that the threshold for those who should be expected to cope with grossly offensive content, like public figures, have fewer rights than those who shouldn’t expect to, such as members of the public> “Celebrities should not be given favour over members of the public.“
The Member of Parliament for Walthamstow has said the numbers of prosecutions for stalking in England and Wales needs to increase.
Speaking to the House of Commons on the topic of stalking, Stella Creasy MP expressed her view that England & Wales need to follow Scotland’s lead. “In the first six months of the offence (of stalking) being in place in Scotland there were 140 prosecutions in Strathclyde alone,” Stella Creasy told Minister Cheryl Gillan. “Does she agree that it is very troubling that just one area in Scotland can achieve almost half the prosecutions we have achieved in England and Wales, and that that needs to be addressed?” she asked.
“There seems to be widespread inconsistency between the police service areas in England and Wales,” Cheryl Gillan responded. “I have had a look at some of the figures.
“There were 133 arrests in the Metropolitan police service area, but in Gloucestershire there were none. “In between those extremes, there were 36 arrests in Lancashire, 20 in my own Thames Valley police area, 14 in Suffolk, 12 in Bedfordshire, and just two in Merseyside.
“I think all Members would agree that there is something very challenging about those statistics.”
Internet trolling and cyberstalking expert Jonathan Bishop said it is important to know the distinction between cyber-trolling and cyber-stalking. “Some posts on the Internet may be critical and make a person feel like they are being stalked, but if they are someone who puts themselves in the public eye, especially on Twitter, they should expect to be targeted by those disagree with or do not like them,” he said. “Cyber-trolling is the posting of comments which can be offensive or provocative, but which are free speech, whereas cyber-stalking are the ones which are grossly offensive, menacing or threatening, which should reasonably expected to cause a person harassment, alarm, distress or apprehension.
“Politicians should be able to cope with cyber-stalking as if it were cyber-trolling, but members of the public should not.“