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Quitting Twitter Ciara Kelly says 'vicious' insults and death threats forced her to quit Twitter

The Newstalk Breakfast host closed down her account after seven years


Ciara Kelly

Ciara Kelly

Ciara Kelly

Radio presenter Ciara Kelly has described how “vicious” Twitter insults and death threats forced her to quit the social media platform. 

The Newstalk Breakfast host revealed how she was subject to abuse, lies and smears, and hatred before she closed down her account after seven years.

"I have trended on Twitter ahead of the 'Late Late' on a Friday night because drunk Twitter is bearing, what I would describe as, its generally fairly cowardly teeth,” she said.

"I've had death threats, I've had deliberate lies and smears told about me that were absolutely untrue.

"I've had fairly vicious insults, I've been defamed over and over again.

"My kids have seen it, my kids have seen lies, they've seen threats, the rest of family and friends have seen it too.”

She added: “And the kind of joke is the people who are screaming at you online, and expressing their outrage, they actually believe themselves to have some kind of high moral ground.

"You're out there, just doing your job in the media, your job is to comment on things.

"And they are there screaming about how despicable you are for literally doing your job and insulting you.

"I think they believe what they're saying to be honest - and I think they come with their digital pitchforks.

"I suspect that they don't even recognise in themselves that they are a mob and that they're feeding off each other.

"That kind of group hate - that desire to ostracize, that desire to punish, to cast out, to cancel - it reminds me of nothing as much as pulpit bashing in the past.

"I think it is hate, truthfully, but it is hate that sees itself as virtuous".

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Dr Kelly said she now views Twitter as a "shouting, hate fest that does nothing good to or for anyone on there" and says things need to change.

Earlier this month, the former Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey spoke about the abuse she received in the wake of the infamous ‘swing gate’ controversy.

Ms Bailey said she found herself at the epicentre of persistent abuse over the course of approximately nine months

"You find that you're in the middle of a pile on and you're a lone voice in a very loud pile of abuse and the volume is so loud that the truth and facts can't be heard or don't want to be heard,” she said. “What warrants nine months of abuse whether it be online or in person?"

She said she was “delighted” that the Chief Executive of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland had told an Oireachtas committee how new, proposed legislation would attempt to prevent material being posted online with the potential to intimidate, threaten, persecute or humiliate people.

“Finally, there will be compliance and regulation that will be put in place and these online platforms will no longer be self-regulatory, that there will be an online safety commissioner involved and there will be recourse," she added.

It comes as the proposed Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill is being debated at the Oireachtas Media Committee today.

Fianna Fáil Senator Malcolm Byrne asked the companies such as Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok if an ID requirement could clamp down on "anonymous bots".

According to RTE.ie. Ronan Costello of Twitter said that pseudonymity is not a prerequisite to people being abusive online. He said that a "violation is a violation, no matter the accounts' identity".

Mr Costello said Twitter's focus was on how an abusive account was behaving, not on the identity that the account may have.

He told the committee that if an account was flagged abusive, Twitter could investigate to see if it was linked to other accounts.

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