Rise in social media abuse complaints
11 October 2012 Last updated at 13:18 BST
People are being fined and even jailed for comments they have made on social media sites.
Last month, Keir Starmer QC, the most senior prosecutor in England and Wales, announced plans to issue new social media rules on abuse.
Under section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 it is an offence to send electronic messages, including on social media websites, that are "grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character".
Meanwhile, the BBC has learnt there has been a big rise in the number of complaints the police have been asked to investigate.
Jim Reed reports.