Websites could soon be forced to reveal the identity of trolls - people who post defamatory messages online. New proposals by the UK government say victims have every right to unmask and expose those abusing them online.
Currently it takes a costly legal battle to expose the identity of online trolls but new powers will be added to the Defamation Bill that are designed to make the process of exposure far less costly and confusing. If websites comply with the request, organisations would afford far greater protection from being sued in the event of a defamation claim, reports the BBC.
The new additions to the bill will be balanced by stringent measures to prevent false claims used by those who simply want material removed. Britain's Justice Secretary, Kenneth Clarke explained that website owners are "in principle liable as publishers for everything that appears on their sites", even though the content is more often than not contributed by users.
In one recent case, Facebook user Nicola Brookes won a case against the social networking service. She was a victim of internet trolling and the social networking giant was forced to reveal the identities of those responsible. Miss Brookes, 45, was the victim of "vicious and depraved" comments on Facebook after she posted a comment supporting former UK X-Factor contestant Frankie Cocozza after he was voted off the show last year, reports the Telegraph.
The Justice Secretary hopes the additions to the bill would mean an end to "scurrilous rumour and allegation" being posted on websites without fear of justified punishment.