A social media user caught promoting animal cruelty on the ‘Stop the Cull’ Facebook page has been reported to the police. The Stop the Cull page is strongly associated with convicted criminal Jay Tiernan.
The social media user in question made the following comment on the ‘Stop the Cull’ Facebook page in response to a post about a midlands hunt;
“I am a truck driver and I get up near the hunt in question quite often and if I should see these c***s out and about, I will have no qualms worrying their horses, blasting my horn in order to cause the horses to throw their riders, even running over the hounds”, the user in question went on to say, commenting upon those individuals involved in hunts, “If I happen to see you whilst I am driving my 44 tonne truck, I will target you as well and I won’t lose any sleep if you are seriously injured or even killed as a result of my actions because in my mind, you don’t deserve to live.”
Not only have the ‘Stop the Cull’ page failed to remove the comment in question, but they have positively engaged with it. Responding to another social media user who questioned the abusive comment, the social media user in question went on to brag about how the authorities would have no way to trace to him to hold him to account for the threats he has issued, saying;
“The police and the DoT have no way of tracing me through Facebook unless someone gives them my personal details which are not available publicly.”
The comment has been reported both to Facebook and also to the local police. This incident follows a campaign that the Alliance has ran to highlight incidents of abuse directed at those engaged in lawful countryside pursuits: Countryside Alliance campaign against online abuse and bullying in the countryside reaches over 1 million people. The Alliance has written to Government Ministers and senior Facebook executives following the campaign requesting that action is taken to stamp out online hate. Earlier this week, the Home Affairs Select Committee published a report into online hate calling for the next Government change the law to allow social media operators to be prosecuted for leaving unlawful messages on their site and for web companies to reimburse the tax payer for police investigations into online abuse: Social media giants fail to tackle hatred, say MPs . Former Foreign Secretary, Rt Hon William Hague MP, today called for tighter regulation of social media giants in the Daily Telegraph: If social media giants want to decry tight regulation, they should take some responsibility first.
Commenting upon the incident, a spokesman for the Alliance said:
“The Home Affairs Select Committee report, published earlier this week, and the interim response from the Government indicate that there is a strong chance that the next Government will take firm action to clamp down on these sort of online threats. Over the past couple of months Facebook’s failure to regulate its own content has come to a head in the national media and there are growing calls from the public for the Government to take action.
“We have seen some pretty sickening comments on pages, such as the ‘Stop the Cull’ page recently, but this comment is particularly serious. It would appear to be a credible threat of violence targeted at specific individuals and the police have been duly notified. The fact that the social media user in question feels able to brag about being able to post these sorts of vile and threatening comments anonymously goes to the heart of the current debate.
“As well as the social media user in question being held to account, it’s also important that the Facebook page that allows this sort of content to be routinely published is held to account. Not only has the ‘Stop the Cull’ page failed to remove the post in question from its page, its positively engaged with it.
“It seems odd that a page that claims to be about promoting animal welfare is comfortable with a comment encouraging animal cruelty sitting on its page. We are hopeful, largely as a result of public pressure, that it will not be long until regulations are brought into line with the reality of modern day online abuse and harassment, and when they are, the days of pages such as ‘Stop the Cull’ being able to spread its hate and encourage violence will be over.”