Female MP gets 600 online rape threats in 1 night over campaign to stop cyber-bullying
The MP for Birmingham Yardley hit out at Twitter for allowing “mass bullying,” adding that she has received around 5,000 generally abusive tweets since beginning the campaign.
Phillips told BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire program she would need to hire someone “full time” to block all the abusive messages she receives on social media.
The MP is among a group of leading female politicians, including former Labour leadership candidate Yvette Cooper, who launched Recl@im the internet – a campaign to stop hate speech and abuse online.
Research by think tank Demos found that over 9,000 “aggressively misogynistic” tweets are sent each day worldwide.
“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,” Phillips told her Twitter followers on Monday night.
Speaking to the BBC on Tuesday, she said many of the abusive messages said she wasn’t worthy of being raped.
“Their level of discourse is saying that they don’t want to rape me, as if raping is something they do to someone they like,” she said.
“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. 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.”
Phillips went on to criticise Twitter for not finding a solution to the problem.
“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.”
Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey has said combatting abuse is a priority for the company.