Chesterfield council leader's concern over 'toxic' social media posts

Chesterfield Borough Council staff have to deal with some abusive posts, according to the authority's leader.
Chesterfield Borough Council staff have to deal with some abusive posts, according to the authority's leader.

The leader of Chesterfield Borough Council has urged people to watch their language when making complaints to the authority online.

Councillor Tricia Gilby this week voiced concern about 'toxic' posts on social media.

She said: "People seem prepared to say things on social media platforms that they would never dream of saying to someone's face.

"I know that the people who run our council social media accounts have to deal with some abusive posts where people overstep the boundaries of what is fair comment or making a complaint.

"That can be difficult when you are facing it day in, day out.

"People have to realise that you can make a complaint or air an alternative view without swearing or resorting to abuse and that ultimately the people on the receiving end of those posts are there to help and assist them."

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According to the human rights group Amnesty International, social networking site Twitter is failing to prevent online violence and abuse against women, creating a toxic environment for them.

Coun Gilby said: "Fortunately, I have not been the victim of toxic posts on Twitter or other social media.

"However, I am angry and saddened by how many women are subject to these attacks, which is why I am cautions about what I share on social media.

"Being in public life, I expect and welcome healthy debates about my views but where this becomes abuse, this is unacceptable and social media platforms need to do more to tackle this and prevent it from happening."

Twitter said it disagreed with Amnesty International’s claims, insisting it 'cannot delete hatred and prejudice from society'.

It said it had made more than 30 changes to its platform in the past 16 months to improve safety, including increasing the instances of action it takes on abusive tweets.