independent

Tuesday 29 July 2014

I know who sent death threats

TOM Barry hits back - and gets a backlash from SF

BILL BROWNE

Published 20/12/2012|20:50

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CORK EAST TD Tom Barry has urged Facebook to become more proactive in dealing with death threats and abusive messages left on social networking pages.

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His comments came after it was revealed that a death threat was left on his Facebook page by an individual, believed to be from the greater Mallow area, who also urged Deputy Barry to kill himself.

The depraved abuse began to appear on Deputy Barry's Facebook page on December 6 - the day after the details of Budget 2013 were unveiled.

The first chilling message posted on Deputy Barry's public page read - ' I'm going to murder you and you deserve to be murdered'.

Deputy Barry, who recognised the identity of the messenger, replied by posting that the comment was "off the scale" and suggested that it be taken down.

Within minutes the post was removed.

However, the same person subsequently sent the TD a shocking error-strewn private message which contain graphic language to describe the Fine Gael party, concluding with the words ' fuk you and youre scumbag party ye will be sorry'.

Deputy Barry said that he had reported the incident to Facebook and had got "absolutely no feedback from them".

He did however, take his mobile phone to gardai in Mallow on December 7 and showed them the messages before they were deleted, at the request of Deputy Barry, by the person who left them.

Mallow based Superintendent Pat McCarthy said that as Deputy Barry had not made a formal complaint about the messages, they had not launched a formal investigation.

Deputy Barry told The Corkman that he understood that taking €3.5 billion from the economy hit people "where it hurts" and people are "upset and angry".

"But people cannot have the right to engage in threatening behaviour online. The vitriol and hatred that comes through social media is completely different than the actual understanding and realism of people on the ground," he said.

The TD said he would be happy to discuss any aspect of the budget, or indeed any other political issue, with any member of the public either face-to-face or over the phone.

"But people are lining up on Twitter and on Facebook to call you a liar, to call you scum and to vent their hatred," said Deputy Barry.

He pointed out that another comment on his Facebook page suggested that he get himself a rickety chair and a rope.

"At my request that comment was also taken down. I can take abuse but children are being dragged into situations online and they are a great deal more vulnerable," said Deputy Barry.

"This experience has highlighted, for me, the fact that Facebook - and perhaps other social media sites of this nature - are not embracing their responsibilities. They have to take these matters seriously and act immediately," he added.

Deputy Barry said it was also clear that more regulation was needed in this area and more prompt action taken when people "cross the line".

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