New research in Ireland has highlighted the need for political parties to do more to support female members from online abuse. While members of government are not alone in facing hatred and vitriol online, it does remind us that standing up to online abuse is required by all sectors.

Often there’s a fine line between freedom of speech and hate speech. But both are not two sides of the same coin. 

In today’s show I’m looking at:

  • > Identifying the signs of online abuse and what we can learn from the Two Johnnie’s #GAAcatfishing stories 
  • > How to manage online abuse 
  • > I speak to National Women Council of Ireland researchers Claire McGing and Valesca Lima, who have developed a social media toolkit for political parties with practical steps to support female colleagues online

How to recognise online abuse? | #PublicSectorMarketingShow #OnlineAbuse #SocialMediaClick To Tweet

Column | How to recognise online abuse?

You might have experienced an angry Twitter user, but what are the more serious signs of online abuse to look out for. Here are some priming questions you should ask.

  • > Are they real?
  • > Are they operating an anonymous account?
  • > What’s their motive?
  • > Are they engaging in hate speech?
  • > Are you or another person/organisation a specific target?
  • > Are they showing up on other platforms?
  • > Who are they following and who’s following them?
  • > Are you uncomfortable, in fear or confused when seeing them or engaging with them online?
  • > Do they have a history of unsavoury activity online?
  • > Does their digital footprint exist beyond social media?

Column | How to handle online abuse?

When your organisation or you are faced with online abuse, be sure to take action. Do not let it simmer or escalate. Here is some solid advice. 

  • > Screenshot
  • > Unfollow and Report to social network or in cases of threats, to law enforcement 
  • > Block 
  • > Document any history of abuse from this person 

For public sector 

    • > Have a strong moderation and abuse policy 
    • > Add in keyword filtering on your social networks 
    • > Have an escalation plan for juniors managing social networks 
    • > Have support for staff facing ongoing or sustained online abuse, especially during a crisis

Interview with NWCI Researchers Valesca Lima and Claire McGing

The NWC toolkit, developed by Valesca Lima and Claire McGing, demonstrates that Irish political parties are not doing enough when it comes to supporting women who are subject to online abuse and threats and must take substantial action to better support women candidates.

Online abuse of women in politics and public life is widespread and unrelenting and acts as a major barrier for women to both enter and remain in politics.

This poses a serious threat to our democracy and the advancement of women’s leadership.

Today we launched our new Social Media Toolkit, highlighting clear and urgent actions Irish political parties need to take to protect and support women politicians from online abuse and threats. 

Irish political parties are not doing enough when it comes to supporting women who are subject to online abuse and threats and must take substantial action to better support women candidates.

GET THE GUIDE : Social Media Policies for Political Parties -


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Thank You for Listening!

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