“As absurd as the Yorkshire incident is, it gives us a real insight into the shocking level of abuse social networks allow public figures to receive. Not only can a politician not tweet about something as mundane and apolitical as making a cup of tea without being targeted by trolls, the brand of teabag will be targeted too”
The makers of the UK’s only abuse-proof social media platform say the social media abuse suffered by one company after the Chancellor was pictured making a cup of tea with its teabags shows the horrific extent of the online harassment endured by politicians.
The Yorkshire Tea company Twitter account was bombarded with a offensive messages after Yorkshire MP Rishi Sunak tweeted a picture of himself “making tea for the team” with a large packet of its teabags, reporting that there’s “nothing like a good Yorkshire brew”.
After describing a “rough weekend” of enduring “pretty shocking” abuse, the account won praise for calling on Twitter users to “try to be kind” and “please remember that there’s a human on the end”.
The creators of the free Rate Your leader app have previously shown how frequently elected representatives are tormented by trolls on other social networks, highlighting how more than seven in ten councillors have received personal insults on social media, with almost 10% suffering digital death threats.
Online abuse suffered by local councillors has risen by 500% in just two years, and almost 200 complaints relating to candidate safety were received during the 2019 General Election – the majority of which related to malicious online communications.
Founder Joel Popoola noted how this online aggression extends not just to politicians, but also to their staff and even brands associated with them.
“As absurd as this incident is, it gives us a real insight into the shocking level of abuse social networks allow public figures to receive. Not only can a politician not post about something as mundane and apolitical as making a cup of tea without being targeted by trolls, the brand of teabag their using will be targeted too.
“Sad as it is, there is clearly a stubborn portion of the population who cannot resist the temptation to harangue strangers over the most insignificant and ridiculous transgressions. It’s even sadder that major social networks continue to let them, when as we have proved the technology exists to make it impossible.
“The age of social media gives us unprecedented access to our elected officials, but that has to come with safeguards like ours, that prevent people’s days, and even lives, being ruined by senseless cruelty.”
Free app Rate Your Leader was created by the Digital Democracy project bridge the gulf between people and their elected representatives with phones and other handheld devices – whilst blocking malicious or offensive communication in a way that other social media platforms do not.
The abuse-proof Rate Your Leader app confirmed voters in specific electoral divisions to communicate directly with the elected representatives, as well as rating them for responsiveness.
The Rate Your Leader app is available from the Apple and Google Marketplaces. The app has a five star rating on the Google market, with one reviewer writing “This is the new level of politics…better communication of leaders with the electorates and accountability”.
An ever-increasing number of MPs, councillors and Police & Crime Commissioners have already taken advantage of the free democracy app to stay in touch with the people who elect them and to get their message out to confirmed voters in their constituencies, helping them truly understand what matters most to the people who elect them