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Chamber and committees

Motion ref. S6M-00689

Concern over Calls to Ban Online Anonymity

Submitted by: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party.
Date lodged: Monday, July 19, 2021

Supported by: Karen Adam, Ariane Burgess, Maggie Chapman, Ross Greer, Gillian Mackay, Emma Roddick, Mark Ruskell ( Registered interest ), Lorna Slater, Mercedes Villalba

That the Parliament notes that racism, misogyny, homophobia and transphobia, among other forms of abuse, are prevalent on social media; believes social media companies should do more to tackle this, including permanently banning any users of their service who repeatedly carry out such abuse; notes the findings of a three-year-long research project entitled Digital Social Norm Enforcement: Online Firestorms in Social Media, published in 2016, which found that "non-anonymous individuals are more aggressive compared to anonymous individuals"; considers that many people have a legitimate reason for requiring anonymity online, including people who have experienced domestic abuse, LGBTQ+ people who may not be out, sex workers who may also not be out, whistleblowers and activists living in repressive regimes, and believes that regulation to prohibit anonymity and require the use of real names would be counter-productive and could cause serious unintended harm.