MP Jess Phillips in web plea 'after 600 rape threats'

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Jess PhillipsImage source, House of Commons
Image caption,
Jess Phillips has called for people's real identities to be revealed to social media providers

An MP who has been the victim of abuse by social media trolls has called for them to lose their anonymity online.

Birmingham Yardley Labour MP Jess Phillips said in one night she received 600 rape threats and was threatened with violence and aggression every day.

She said she wanted people to have to disclose their real identity to providers like Facebook and Twitter.

However, she said there were good reasons for whistleblowers to still appear anonymous to the public.

Speaking at the Cheltenham Science Festival, she said if you spoke from a feminist perspective, which she "very frequently" did, "you will suffer from a huge amount of internet trolling".

She added she had "stopped counting" the number of abusive messages she had received.

Over the weekend Security Minister Ben Wallace said digital IDs should be brought in to end online anonymity that permits bullying and grooming.

At the G7 summit Prime Minister Theresa May called for tech giants to clamp down on "vile" attacks against women.

Earlier this year the government announced plans for new laws including a mandatory social media code of practice.

Ms Phillips said police had issued harassment orders against two people for "constantly emailing me with bile and abuse".

Image source, @jessphillips
Image caption,
On Monday the MP tweeted that her office had been vandalised for the second time in two years

"I don't feel I am physically in any danger and I don't think my children are in any danger," she said.

"However, where it does worry me, and I think we have to do something about, is when it affects our democracy.

"I personally have come to the viewpoint that I don't think people should be allowed to be completely anonymous online anymore."

Speaking ahead of London Tech Week, Culture Secretary Matt Hancock also expressed concerns about social media, and told the Guardian he did not let his own children use it.

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