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Jess Phillips Responds To Trolls Who Sent Her Rape Threats On Twitter

'Twitter is dead.'

31/05/2016 17:03 | Updated 31 May 2016

A Labour MP has hit out at the "pack" of trolls that her sent more than 600 messages about raping her in a single night. 

Jess Phillips, a staunch campaigner against violence against women, declared "Twitter is dead" following the torrent of abuse she received on social media.

The threats came just days after Phillips wrote in a blog on The Huffington Post UK last week to mark the start of the Reclaim The Internet campaign, aimed at ending sexist online bullying.

Channel 4 News
Jess Phillips received 600 messages talking about her rape in just one night

The wave of vile comments about Phillips appears to have been launched after she replied to one person who said "I wouldn't even rape you".

She tweeted on Monday morning: "To see the attack of a pack on here check out my mentions 600 odd notifications talking about my rape in one night. I think twitter is dead."

The Birmingham Yardley MP has previously been subjected to rape threats online after she laughed at Conservative Philip Davies when he called for a discussion in Parliament to coincide with International Men’s Day last October.

People who don't like this feral side of the Internet are just going to walk away Jess Phillips

Speaking about the recent abuse, Phillips said blocking and ignoring those who directed online attacks at her was impossible. 

"I could never block them - you would need someone employed full time to block the amount of people who have been in touch with me over the weekend," she told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme.

"It's not a solution just to block and ignore them in my case. The only solution in stopping me seeing it is if I stop going on Twitter which is a very real possibility."

She added that the "ringleaders" of the abuse should face either civil or criminal action.

Phillips added: "Until Twitter makes this sort of thing stop happening and stops accepting that this sort of dogpiling and mass bullying can happen, their business model is totally flawed.

"People who don't like this feral side of the Internet are just going to walk away."

The Labour MP has previously spoken out about receiving rape threats online. In November last year she vowed not to be forced off Twitter but lamented that she was often confronted with a "deluge of people saying vile things about you".

“I absolutely love Twitter and I won’t let this force me off there,” she said.

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Twitter has come under fire for failing to halt people being berated by abusive messages

“I think it’s a brilliant way you can have direct contact with people - the other side of the world, famous people or politicians. But you can’t say anything now without a deluge of people saying vile things about you.”

In her HuffPost UK blog, Phillips said that she was often accused of "trying to stifle freedom of speech".

"I’ve been called the thought police, the Stasi and, as is currently so very de rigueur, a Nazi. I’m not trading secrets on the streets of East Berlin, holding rallies or burning books, I’m just saying “dude don’t be such a douche on the internet.

"The funny thing is about all the so-called libertarians on Twitter shouting up for free speech is that they are promoting the exact opposite," Phillips wrote.

Twitter said it did not comment on individual cases for privacy and security reasons.

Kira O'Connor, head of trust and safety outreach at the micro-blogging site, said: "Hateful conduct has no place on the Twitter platform and is a violation of our terms of service.

"In addition to our policies and user controls, such as block, mute and our new multiple tweet reporting functionality, we work with civil society leaders and academic experts to understand the challenge that exists."

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