A MERSEYSIDE MP met Facebook staff about “trolling” after offensive messages were left on a tribute site to a Wirral teenager who died falling under a train.
Liverpool Walton MP Steve Rotheram is trying to get new laws through parliament to stop those who post abusive messages on websites.
Last year there was a furious reaction to messages left on a tribute page to train tragedy victim Georgia Varley.
The 16-year-old Birkenhead sixth form student was killed on October 22 last year at James Street railway station when she slipped from a platform and fell beneath a Wirral line train as she tried to board a train her friends were travelling on.
Within days of her death a Facebook page set up by friends in her memory was attacked by trolls, posting offensive content from locations abroad and under pseudonyms.
As friends tried to keep control of the page, Mr Rotheram took action by bringing up the subject in Parliament.
Yesterday Mr Rotheram met representatives from Facebook to see how they tackle the issue.
He said afterwards: “It comes down to the balance they have to strike between free speech and censorship, and it appears to me they err on the side of free speech.
“The meeting was part of a fact finding mission to look at where the gaps are which allows certain individuals to post these disgusting, mindless messages. I know it is going to be complicated but that will not stop me trying to bring pressure to bear on social networking sites such as Facebook to stop this kind of thing and alleviate the distress that Georgia Varley’s family had to go through.”
Mr Rotherham also plans to meet representatives from Twitter.
A spokesperson for Facebook said it was against the site’s rules “to intimidate or harass others” and the site would “react swiftly” to disable accounts found in breach of their terms.
She said: “We strongly encourage people using Facebook to use our tools whenever needed and to report objectionable content so we can investigate reports and take action.”