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Catherine Noone wants statutory duty of care for social media firms to fight online abuse

Senator Catherine Noone feels online harassment is getting worse every day on social media.

She is calling for a statutory duty of care for social media companies to ensure they do more to help protect people from online abuse.

Removal of content for terror-related issues is in place online, and Senator Noone believes it should be expanded to cover abuse and harassment.

The Fine Gael Senator feels Twitter is an avenue for abuse, saying: "While it's a very useful tool to use to get your opinions out there and to interact with people, it is actually an avenue for abuse.

"You are opening yourself up to fairly intense abuse on occasion. For ordinary people going about their daily lives, I don't think that we should be allowing society to move to a space where abuse online is commonplace and we just have to put up with it. To me, that's not good enough."

She suggested companies should be required to act "in an effective, efficient and timely manner to remove abusive content".

She said: “Recent reports in the UK show that one in five social media users have suffered harassment, abuse, bullying or fraud. This highlights the extent of the problem and why action must be taken to prevent the situation from deteriorating.

"Be it adults or children, it's a huge issue, and something that I feel is getting worse every day on social media. Clearly, something needs to be done about it.

"Existing requirements for removal of content already provide for terror-related issues. I believe this should now be expanded to cover abuse, harassment and fraud."