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Why should any of us tolerate vile threats and abuse on social media?

She should never have said it. It was rude, inappropriate and unprofessional. She knows it and she has apologised.

You see Fine Gael councillor Laura McGonigle told anti-water protesters to 'collect all the rainwater while out marching today and drink that for a week', in a post on her Facebook page.

Laura McGonigle has sinace faced vile abuse.

This has included calls for her to be drowned in a bath of water, to be burned, and comments on her appearance.

She also had her mobile phone number published online.

Online harassment is ubiquitous, particularly for women. A 2013 Pew Research survey revealed that 23pc of people aged 18 to 29 reported being stalked or harassed online, with around 70pc of the cases involving female victims.

standards

You might shrug your shoulders and think it's only the net. We can't do anything about it and Laura McGonigle needs to get real about the tough world of politics.

But the cybersphere is now where we work and socialise. It's where people meet partners, where your reputation is sometimes formed.

So surely we need the same sort of standards online as we need in public life. (Cllr McGonigle has acknowledged this herself by her apology).

Online harassment isn't freedom of speech and the abuse isn't a niche issue. It has real social, professional, personal and economic costs.

It's not just a tech problem; it's a social problem that we all need to stand up to. Stand up to the keyboard warriors and cyber stalkers by not retweeting, by not reposting, by not engaging with anonymous Twitch hunts and abusers.

By reporting them and creating an environment in which abuse is simply not tolerated.


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