Rachel Riley on trolling, upskirting and preventing unwanted sexual content

Rachel Riley has said that unwanted sexual content sent to people online should be treated the same as if it happened on the street.

The Countdown star, 36, revealed that when the Center for Countering Digital Hate went through her Instagram direct messages, the charity found a stream of inappropriate sexual videos, including 30 by a man.

Speaking on the Dirty Mother Pukka podcast, Riley questioned why social media giants aren’t using advanced photo recognition technology to detect unwanted sexual images.

There’s no reason why doing something online shouldn’t be treated exactly the same as doing it on the streetRachel Riley

She said: “They gave me the details of some of the things he said.

“It’s not that I’m upset that I have it, it means my friends, teenage girls, are on this platform. Especially DMs (direct messages) because no one else can see them.

“I’ve had a lot of trolling on Twitter activism stuff, anti-Semitism stuff. The thing about trolling is you’re the only one who really sees everything and no one can understand what it’s like to have so much trolling and a lot of people are saying things or sending you things, it’s very lonely.

“Considering that teenage girls are at one of the most vulnerable times of their lives, we know that teenage girls are really vulnerable to outside opinions and pressures.”

The mathematician and TV presenter questioned why social media platforms don’t use technology that can describe an image for visually impaired people to prevent users from receiving unwanted sexual content from people they don’t follow.

She added: “Cyber-flashing is literally just being made into a crime.

“There’s no reason why doing something online shouldn’t be treated the same as doing it on the street.”

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Riley also recalled a time she was playing ping pong with her professional dancer husband Pasha Kovalev at a friend’s house party – when someone took a picture under someone else’s clothing without their permission.


Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev (Ian West/PA)

She said she was “too polite” to name the inappropriate behavior as she was unable to “digest” or think about it at the time.

However, she feels that if someone tried her again they should break her phone and if they had a problem with that she would take the incident to the police so it could be dealt with publicly.

The presenter also spoke about the online trolling she has experienced, revealing that after speaking about it publicly on a podcast, she faced a torrent of abuse during her birthday week that left her in tears.

She said: “Early doors, I had no idea how to deal with that. I took everyone at face value and tried to use education and be sensible and explain and get involved.

“At one point I was speaking publicly on a podcast, and it was like turning on a faucet. It literally felt like someone pushed a button and sent them all my way at once.”

The TV star admitted the trolling was “overwhelming” and led to one of the few times she had argued with Kovalev when he was frustrated to see the “terrible people” coming at her.

Rachel Riley’s full interview on the Dirty Mother Pukka Podcast with Anna Whitehouse and Polly Hazlewood is available on the Global Player.

https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/rachel-riley-on-trolling-upskirting-and-preventing-unsolicited-sexual-content-41617541.html Rachel Riley on trolling, upskirting and preventing unwanted sexual content

Fry Electronics Team

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