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Online “Trolls” To Be Jailed In UK For Causing Psychological Harm

Online “Trolls” will be jailed for ‘psychological harm.’

Trolls could face two years in prison for sending messages or posting content that causes psychological harm under legislation targeting online hate.

Ministers will overhaul communication laws by creating new offenses in the forthcoming Online Safety Bill, the flagship legislation to combat abuse and hatred on the internet.

The Department for Culture, Media & Sport has accepted recommendations from the Law Commission for crimes to be based on “likely psychological harm”.

By Matt Dathan (Home Affairs Editor:

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The proposed law change will shift the focus on to the “harmful effect” of a message rather than if it contains “indecent” or “grossly offensive” content, which is the present basis for assessing its criminality.

A new offense of “threatening communications” will target messages and social media posts that contain threats of serious harm. It would be an offense where somebody intends a victim to fear the threat will be carried out.

A “knowingly false communication” offense will be created that will criminalize those who send or post a message they know to be false with the intention to cause “emotional, psychological, or physical harm to the likely audience”. Government sources gave the example of anti-vaxers spreading false information that they know to be untrue.


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