Massive Increase In Arrests For ‘Hate Speech’ On Social Media

Social Media
The number of people arrested in London for so-called “online crimes of speech”, mainly made on social media, has shot up in the past few years. Six hundred and twenty-five arrests were made for online speech crimes in 2010, rising to 857 in 2015 — a 37 per cent increase in just five years. The shocking data was released in a freedom of information request made to the Metropolitan Police, reported by The Register. Offenders were targeted with Section 127 of the Communications Act of 2003, which covers offensive and threatening messages sent over a “public” electronic communications network – a law which has increasingly been used to arrest and prosecute for tweets and Facebook posts since 2010. The law criminalises “using [a] public electronic communications network in order to cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety,” and can result in a six-month prison term or fine of up to £5,000. After more than 3,000 section 127 cases were heard in court in 2012, new guidelines were published by the then-Director of Public Prosecutions. The Times reported just last year that prosecutions had declined “dramatically” as a result. However, the new data proves this not to be the case: Arrests for section 127 online speech