sense fine has been criticized for his plans to introduce legislation to combat anonymous trolls on social media.
The party’s proposed law would force tech companies to reveal the identities of anonymous account holders who abuse and defame people online.
But Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond said it was “ironic” that Sinn Féin was trying to crack down on online abuse, given the activity on Twitter and Facebook by some of the party’s supporters.
“This is a very welcome and indeed interesting development,” said the Dublin-Rathdown TD.
“The subject is very valuable and I look forward to reading through the proposed legislation in detail.
“However, the fact that this is coming from Sinn Féin is completely ironic.
“I hope that leading up to the release, Sinn Féin itself took a serious look at their supporters’ approach to social media.”
Sinn Féin Justice spokesman Martin Kenny said the new law would prevent social media accounts from being used to defame, harass or abuse people online.
The legislation would hold social media companies responsible for defamation if they fail to disclose the identity of a troll who has defamed someone on their platform.
“Trolling is never acceptable and cannot be allowed due to government complacency. We need to ensure that nobody is allowed to intimidate or harass people on social media without being held accountable for it,” said the Sligo-Leitrim TD. “In all of this, social media companies have a key responsibility.”
But Mr Richmond said: “Sinn Féin has an absolutely appalling record in this regard and in its questionable approach to social media.
“From Serbia-based accounts, malicious internal Facebook groups, vile statements by online public figures, and the notorious clusters of anonymous Shinnerbots, it’s definitely a new avenue for Sinn Féin to become the self-proclaimed custodians of online content.”
Fianna Fáil Senator Malcolm Byrne, who was previously attacked on Twitter by a Sinn Féin member, said: “The government is currently trying to address the issue of online harm through the Online Safety and Media Regulation Act.
“But I applaud the principle of what Martin Kenny is trying to achieve. Aside from regulation, we know we need to educate and improve the way some people behave online.
“I would hope that Sinn Féin will challenge the minority of its own supporters who engage in large-scale online abuse and anonymous trolling, and clarify its Belgrade-based digital operations.”
Mr Byrne was previously the victim of online abuse by a Sinn Féin member in Wexford.
Last night, Mr Kenny said he didn’t accept that Sinn Féin had a “particular problem” with supporters of the party abusing people online.
He said it was “a problem for all political parties” and the legislation he published “demonstrates Sinn Féin’s commitment to addressing this particular issue”.
Speaking of RTÉ driving timeMr Kenny said he didn’t know how many Sinn Féin members had been sanctioned for abusing people, but said “all political parties have an overzealous support base”.
Sinn Féin has been repeatedly criticized for the abuse that some supporters anonymously publish online. They regularly attack political opponents and journalists on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/sinn-fein-is-lambasted-over-ironic-bill-to-tackle-online-trolls-41484929.html Sinn Féin has been criticized for an ‘ironic’ bill to fight online trolls