APPEARING before members of both Houses of Parliament on the, social media firms Facebook and Twitter have admitted they still have work to do to protect MPs and other public figures from online abuse.

A recent report from Amnesty International paints a grim picture, showing that one in 14 of 228,000 tweets sent during 2017 to 778 female politicians and journalists from across the political spectrum in the UK and US, contained abusive or controversial language.

The social media firms say that they use the most advanced automated systems in the world to track key content, such as child exploitation or terrorism, but of course things like bullying and harassment are much harder for a machine to identify accurately what that is.

It might be a group of friends just having an argument about something, using some stark language.

We cannot just rely on machines, and while Facebook and Twitter do need to take further steps, we also need to rely on individuals in our communities to report these issues, because often it’s more about context and intent.

What is positive is that both Twitter and Facebook have stepped up engagement with politicians, and this can only help them improve the policing of their content.

They also need to be aware of their responsibilities and now work even more closely with parliamentary authorities and law enforcement agencies to improve safety on social media platforms, not just for politicians, but everyone in our community.