Diane Abbott (image: notey.com)
I am starting to wonder whether people, public debate, and therefore politics, would benefit from sticking to transparent, traceable, on-the-record communication only. It seems clear from innumerable documented incidents that the corporate entities of Twitter and Facebook are, all too often, passive in responding to online abuse. Not all of this abuse is political, but the patronage of politicians and other public figures lends social media an air of legitimacy that aids those who circulate abuse. If almost every politician – from local council candidate to POTUS – were to abandon Twitter and Facebook, they would have to resort to more formal methods like face-to-face communication, letter-writing and (whisper it) paper publications. It would also send a signal to private sufferers of online abuse that none of this is acceptable.