I regularly receive Twitter comments ranging from the tame and jejune 'fag', 'fudge packer', 'cock sucker', 'spazzy' and 'ugly cunt' to the more personal and nasty 'you should have been kicked out of your mums womb', 'I'd slit your throat fag', 'You should get raped with a machete' and 'Hitler had the right idea. Put you faggot bastards in an oven at 230 degrees until crispy'.
Usually the month of August is referred to as the silly season. The political exploitation of 14-year-old schoolgirl Hannah Smith's suicide by both tabloid and broadsheet newspapers suggests we might have to rechristen it the sinister season. Even for a press like ours, with its many well-known moral lapses, the shroud-waving over Hannah's death marks a new low.
Recently the town I went to school in as a child has seen a Spotted page arise and within a few days the page itself has thousands of likes and is updated regularly. Like Foucault's metaphor of the Panopticon, the page acts as a high place looking down upon the people casting judgement hither and thither from the position of power that anonymity brings.
Former Blue Peter presenter Richard Bacon has revealed how he has been targeted by abusive internet "trolls", in a bid to highlight the growing proble...