Ban hate terms, MP tells Twitter


Social media companies should ban the use of racist words on their sites, a Jewish MP targeted by abusive internet users has said.

Luciana Berger said online hatred must be taken as seriously as abuse perpetrated offline.

The Labour politician received more than 2,500 antisemitic tweets in three days during a campaign against her in October.

Speaking for the first time about the abuse she faced, Ms Berger told the Telegraph: “Twitter’s response isn’t good enough. It has a responsibility to do more to protect its users. The site is letting me and many others down who have been the subject of lots of hate.”

Her case received widespread attention in the media and Parliament. In October, the JC revealed how the attacks against her were being co-ordinated by a United States-based neo-Nazi website.

The Liverpool Wavertree MP said Twitter could tackle the problem in a number of ways.

“It could start by proactively banning racist words which aren’t allowed to be printed in newspapers or broadcast on TV, that could never be used in a positive way — such as “kike” — a derogative and antisemitic term for describing a Jew.”

The social media site has never publicly commented on Ms Berger’s case. She said she had made direct approaches to Twitter executives to suspend offensive users’ accounts. She now felt “let down” by the company.

"It took well over a week for some of the abusive content to be removed and even when it was, the approach was sporadic and very haphazard,” the Shadow public health minister said.

“Twitter has made some improvements on the site and it’s important that you can report people — but when you are getting the level of abuse I was, it’s an onerous task reporting each and every person.”

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