Watch your tweets: Jail for Twitter abuse is now real

This is a headline which will be welcomed by many Indian twitterati, especially media professionals, politicians and celebrities. Twitterati abusing them is common, threatening them is less common and making unfounded allegations is an everyday affair.

Hopefully, what is happening in the UK will give all of them hope - and reason to stay on Twitter. During the past few years, many, including CNN-IBN editor-in-chief Rajdeep Sardesai, contemplated staying off Twitter after particularly harrowing days.

When Sardesai was at his wits end, he decided to change the way he interacted on twitter. Reuters reported, "From the desk of Rajdeep Sardesai, editor in chief of Indian news network IBN Live (I stitched these sentences together from his Twitter account):

My timeline suggests little space for healthy debate/discussion on twitter. So will no longer raise any political issues on the medium. Will continue writing/talking on issues of natl interest in print/tv, but not on twitter. Will continue to write in print/speak on tv. But will no longer seek twitter as a medium for public debate. Had hoped to interact; failed. A journalist has only his integrity/credibility. That has been abused on this medium for too long by unknown people. Time to switch off. Or: I've had it with you awful people. You are intolerable and I don't have to tolerate your abuse."

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

There is hope for Rajdeep and other fellow sufferers on social media with this news from the UK.

"Two people are facing jail for subjecting a high profile feminist to online abuse following a campaign to ensure a woman featured on British bank notes.Isabella Sorley, 23, used Twitter to tell campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez to "f*** off and die you worthless piece of crap", "go kill yourself" and "rape is the last of your worries".John Nimmo, 25, told Ms Criado-Perez to "shut up bitch" and "Ya not that gd looking to rape u be fine" followed by "I will find you (smiley face)" and then the message "rape her nice ass", Westminster Magistrates' Court heard.

Nimmo also targeted Stella Creasy, the Labour MP for Walthamstow, with the message "The things I cud do to u (smiley face)", calling her "Dumb blond bitch." The pair pleaded guilty to sending menacing tweets today, admitting they were among the users of 86 separate Twitter accounts from which Ms Criado-Perez had received abusive messages," reported MSN.

The arrests are good news for those who have been reduced to helplessness on Twitter, with some so distraught that they close their accounts.

Manchester City defender Micah Richards has closed his official Twitter page after facing constant racist abuse.

An American Idol contestant closed her account after being flooded by hate tweets.

Actress Georgia King shut down her account after being targeted by jealous fans.

Micah Richards, the American Idol contestant and Georgia King may now feel it is safe enough to return to Twitter.

And Rajdeep Sardesai and other victims might begin to feel it is safe enough to stay on Twitter.


Published Date: Jan 08, 2014 11:35 am | Updated Date: Jan 08, 2014 11:35 am