Jess Phillips says fake content is putting her life at risk

23 July 2020, 10:04

The Birmingham Yardley MP has been the target of online attacks before
The Birmingham Yardley MP has been the target of online attacks before. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Labour MP Jess Phillips has said fake viral content about her is putting herself and her family at risk.

The Birmingham Yardley MP said she was alerted to a "completely fake headline" that had been put on an anonymous Twitter account.

The headline appears to have been created with a webpage which generates realistic-looking fake opinion headlines from the Guardian newspaper.

Ms Phillips said the headline had been shared more than 280 times by the time she reported it to the micro-blogging platform.

Expressing concern over the potential size of the audience the fake message could reach, the MP said people could share it "in good faith without realising the sinister motives" of whoever created it.

Raising the issue of accountability Ms Phillips said had the message been in a publication she would have been able to act, but as it was on social media she was left powerless.

The message on the platform led users to suggest a need for better regulation of social media which is not treated in the same way as newspaper publication.

Last year the head of the Met Police warned threats to MPs are at "unprecedented" levels with a "considerable rise," in 2018-2019.

Appearing before the Joint Committee on Human Rights, Commissioner Cressida Dick said the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox had contributed to an "extraordinary set of circumstances" with increasing levels of abuse not seen before.

Women and ethnic minorities are particular targets for harassment and abuse, while a group of just 10 MPs bore the brunt of almost one in three offences.

Jess Phillips has previously been targeted with harassment, form emails to attacks on her constituency offices.

The MP has previously revealed to LBC she was forced to install a panic room at her home following a barrage of threats and abuse.

LBC has approached Twitter for comment.

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