Farmer responses wanted for Online Safety Bill survey

Farmers who have been harassed or abused on social media have been urged to share their stories and help influence new law designed to crack down on criminal and harmful activity online.

The government’s Online Safety Bill will introduce tougher rules for social media companies to ensure people are protected.

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The Countryside Alliance has asked anyone working in agriculture who has been abused online to complete its bullying survey.

The survey is anonymous and results will be sent to the committee that is considering the bill in parliament.

People working in food and agriculture have been subject to online hate campaigns, and the alliance wants to give them a voice and help tackle the targeting of businesses, which includes butchers and abattoirs.

David Bean, parliamentary and government affairs manager at the Countryside Alliance, said: “To make the case for effective legislation to the government and MPs, we need those victims of online bullying to help in updating our research and gathering case studies to illustrate the impact that online abuse can have on rural communities.

“We know from our own past work that there are many people out there that suffer from online harm daily.

“The time has come and we must do all we can to tackle this scourge and crack down on those that operate their campaigns of hate from the murky corners of the internet.”

People can also submit written evidence to the House of Commons public bill committee.

The Online Safety Bill introduces new rules for firms that allow users to post their own content online or interact with each other, such as Facebook or Twitter, and for search engines, which will be told to stop exposing harmful search results to users.

Platforms that fail to protect people will need to answer to a regulator, and could face fines of up to 10% of their revenues or, in the most serious cases, be blocked.

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