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UK Plans To Prosecute Fake Online Profile Abusers

As well as addressing fake profile abusers, the CPS also highlighted ‘revenge porn’ and content that poses ‘a credible threat’.

The UK’s Crown Prosecution Service has issued new guidelines regarding online abuse and harassment. Among the updated guidelines is a call for the Police to pursue prosecutions where fake social media accounts are set up with the intent of causing harm or distress to another person (If you are being affected visit our cyberbullying and digital abuse help center).

The new guidelines, along with other recommendations, are being introduced to attempt to assist legal teams and the Police in dealing with cases of online abuse and harassment using existing laws, including malicious communications and harassment legislation.

Importantly, this does not mean that setting up a fake profile/alias is now illegal (There are people who desperately need the option to protect their identity), but if a fake profile is deemed to be for the purpose of harassment or grossly offensive, then prosecutions may follow (Visit our cyberbullying and the law section for further information). Clearly, the hope is that by having legislation in place to prosecute organized and pre-meditated digital abusers, this might act as a deterrent.

These changes add more specific guidance to the initial social media guidelines published by the CPS in December 2012. These latest recommendations take a more in depth look at the types of digital abuse that are evolving with advancements in technology, and gives legal services and the Police a clearer understanding of how to deal with these issues.

In addition to focussing on fake accounts, the CPS have also highlighted other forms of online abuse including ‘revenge porn’ and content that poses ‘a credible threat’.

The latest amendments to their guidelines is a sign that the authorities in the U.K. are taking the issues that surround cyberbullying and digital abuse seriously. If you are being affected by abuse online you can access our cyberbullying and digital abuse help center or visit our Total Access Support section for trained advisors. For further information about Cybersmile and our work, please explore the suggestions below.

What do you think about the new guidelines? Tweet us @CybersmileHQ!