30 Jul 2013

Troll says sorry after someone threatens to tell his mum

A Twitter troll makes a grovelling apology after TV historian Mary Beard calls him out, and another Twitter user threatens to tell his mother.

Cambridge professor and TV presenter Mary Beard received an apology from a troll after one of her followers threatened to tell the young man’s mother.

It comes as MPs announce they will question Twitter bosses in the autumn over how such abuse exists on their platform.

Twitter user and Nottingham student Oliver Rawlings took time out of his day to fire an insult at Ms Beard, after she appeared on a radio programme on Monday to discuss how she had been trolled in the past on Twitter.

Rawlings took the opportunity to troll her again, with a random offensive tweet that was at odds in the middle of his Twitter stream that was generally about his holidays and occasionally sport.

But the young man made a full apology after Ms Beard retweeted it and one of her 43,000 followers intervened and offered to tell Rawlings’ mother.

Read more: How to stop the trolls

Rawlings put three “xxx”s at the end of his apology tweet.

After Mary Beard publicised the case, Rawlings received a storm of complaints from other Twitter users outraged by his comments and has since deleted his account and his Facebook page.

Sadly though, other trolls are less apologetic, and still going. Just this morning, Ms Beard got a series of offensive tweets from other accounts, some anonymous.

MPs have declared that they want to question Twitter executives about how so much abuse exists on their platform and what they intend to do about it. The Culture Select Committee will discuss the matter in the autumn, said Committee chair John Whittingdale Tuesday, as part of a broader review to include Cameron’s new measures to protect children from porn.