72% of the British public say social media sites should demand the names and addresses of users – but younger Britons are less supportive than the old
Following a series of cases of social media abuse, including violent Twitter messages being sent to high-profile women and the suicide of 14-year old Hannah Smith who was bullied on a popular forum, ask.fm, new YouGov research for the Sunday Times finds that the public support an end to the relative anonymity of social media users.
72% of British adults ‘support social media sites like Twitter only allowing people to use them if they provided a fully verified name and address.’ Only 14% oppose – the same amount as who ‘don’t know.’ But while 82% of those aged 60 or over favour an end to social media anonymity, 54% of 18-25 year olds feel the same.
In terms of whether action should be taken, 62% say ‘Social media sites like Twitter should listen to people who are complaining and take action to reduce abusive and threatening messages,’ while only 29% say that ‘People who are complaining about abusive and threatening messages on social media sites like Twitter should just stop using it if they don't like it.’
The men who sent violent messages to one of the women to suffer from Twitter abuse, Labour MP Stella Creasy, have now been arrested in Bristol. And the founders of Ask.fm have agreed to identify the anonymous users who sent abusive messages to Hannah Smith via their computers’ IP addresses.