Anti-Social Network: Online bullying and me
Two years ago I was innocently Googling my own name (everybody says they don't. They do. It's just human nature).
That was how I came across a website called "Richard Bacon is a ****."
The title gave a subtle hint as to what the author thought of me; I was prepared for abuse. But what I wasn't prepared for was the sheer level of hatred on the site.
As a broadcaster, people hating what you do and hating you is an occupational hazard.
But this fella was fantasising about my death, daydreaming about me dying in a plane crash, and expressing his hope that my body would be mangled in a car wreck.
After a while, he also took to Twitter, under the name - if memory serves - "**** of the Day." As the months went on, he became utterly obsessed. Not content with just repeating how much he hated me on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis, he started posting links full of abuse to my wife, mother and work colleagues.
My new-born son even garnered a few mentions.
And it was this that got me thinking about the cowardly new world of internet abuse.
It turns out that the level of vitriol I was receiving was mild by comparison with what hundreds, probably thousands, of people around the UK were subjected to.
I'm a presenter. I come into people's homes via the radio and the TV. And I understand totally that I wind some people up.
I know that abuse comes with the territory.
Slagging me or my show off, despising my style of presenting - that's fine. After all, that’s freedom of expression.
But when someone becomes intensely personal, and crosses the line between disliking you and publicly fantasising about your death, things change.
But in the course of this programme, I discover first-hand that internet abuse is much, much worse for some people.
Imagine you're the parent of a child who has died in tragic circumstances and you're reading a tribute site dedicated to their lost loved one.
Underneath the comments from friends and acquaintances, you stumble upon graphic, violent and sexual abuse from anonymous people. People who their deceased child never even met.
Reading their awful stories was the moment I began seriously wondering what kind of people would do this sort of thing. Why would they do it? And what did they get out of it?
Beyond that, I also wanted to know where the law and the big social networking companies stood when it came to the issue of mocking dead children.
The answer, as you'll see in this show, is not very reassuring.
In The Anti-Social Network (Monday 19 March, 9pm) I meet victims, psychologists, police, devastated families and ultimately come face to face with two people who I believe are internet trolls.
Before filming began, I thought that this would be a dark, murky, complex and unsettling world.
It turns out it’s even more dark, murky, complex and unsettling than I ever imagined.
The Anti-Social Network is on Monday at 9pm.