Ministers urged to end Mickey Mouse anonymous social media accounts | Politics | News


It comes as a group of Conservative backbenchers from the Common Sense Group are trying to amend the bill to force companies like Twitter and Facebook to be seen as the publisher of anonymous accounts. This would mean that social media companies would be subject to defamation and criminal laws for anonymous material in the same way that newspapers and broadcasters are responsible for the material they publish.

A study by the Clean Up the Internet campaign group found that anonymous email addresses are classified as valid identification by Twitter.

The group carried out their study following claims by Twitter that 99% of accounts running racist abuses on their platform against England players like Marcus Rashford, who missed a penalty in the final. ‘Euro 2020, came from identifiable and non-anonymous accounts.

The campaign group called Twitter’s statement “deliberately misleading.”

David Babbs of Clean Up the Internet claimed that, using Twitter’s methodology, an account called “mickey mouse”, linked to an email address “mickeymouseisnotreallymyname “would not count as anonymous.

Mr Babbs said: “The process for setting up a Twitter account has not changed since mid-2018.

“In mid-2018, Twitter introduced the requirement that a user provide an email address or phone number and click a link in a confirmation email, or enter a code received in a text message, to complete the recording.

“All this confirms is that the user has access to the email address, or is able to receive text messages sent to the phone number. This does not confirm that the other information (i.e. name or age) is real.

He continued: “Anyone can create a new email address (in about 2 minutes), for example with gmail, then create a new twitter account by entering a fake name, fake date of birth and their new e-mail address. -mail, then click a confirmation link in the email that twitter sends to the new email address.

“Alternatively, anyone can buy a UK SIM card from a newsagent for around £ 1 and use it to register via a phone number. for bad actors who are more committed / organized.

However, a Twitter spokesperson insisted the company “is deeply committed to keeping people safe online and protecting a free and open Internet.”

He added: “As we stated previously, 99% of the tournament’s permanently suspended accounts were identifiable.

“At Twitter, we are guided by our values, and never more so than when it comes to fundamental issues like identity.

“We believe that everyone has the right to share their voice without needing government ID to do so.

“Our approach in this space was developed in consultation with leading NGOs – while the pseudonym has been a vital tool in expressing oneself in oppressive regimes, it is no less critical in democratic societies.”

Online hate legislation is due to be debated in parliament in the new year.


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