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Plans considered to tackle racial hatred offences

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People who spread racial hatred online could be banned from using sites such as Facebook and Twitter, under plans being suggested by MPs.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has been asked to consider whether so-called “internet ASBOs” could be issued to those who repeatedly post offensive content on the social media sites.

The proposals follow increasing concerns about anti-Semitism and Islamophobia increasing over the internet.

A report prepared by a cross-party group of MPs said: “There is an allowance in the law for banning or blocking individuals from certain aspects of internet communication in relation to sexual offences.

“Informal feedback we have received from policy experts indicates that this is a potential area of exploration for prosecutors in relation to hate crime.

“If it can be proven in a detailed way that someone has made a considered and determined view to exploit various online networks to harm and perpetrate hate crimes against others then the accepted principles, rules and restrictions that are relevant to sex offences must surely apply.”

The suggestion comes after Twitter’s chief executive, Dick Costolo, admitted that the site’s response to abusive comments was seriously lacking.

“We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we’ve sucked at it for years,” he said.

“It’s no secret and the rest of the world talks about it every day. We lose core user after core user by not addressing simple trolling issues that they face every day.

“I’m frankly ashamed of how poorly we’ve dealt with this issue during my tenure as CEO. It’s absurd. There’s no excuse for it.”

At Lester Morrill, our specialist criminal law team represent clients facing a range of public order offences, including incitement of religious or racial hatred. For more details about how our Leeds-based solicitors can help you, please contact us.