Internet trolls face having their mask of anonymity ripped away under new proposals included in the draft Defamation Bill, which goes before parliament for its second reading on Tuesday.
The Bill will give websites such as Facebook and Twitter greater protection against defamation lawsuits if they are willing to identify so-called trolls who have slandered people online.
“Website operators will have a defence against libel as long as they identify the authors of allegedly defamatory material when requested to do so by a complainant," said Kenneth Clarke, justice secretary in a statement.
Under existing laws, websites such as Twitter or TripAdvisor are potentially liable for defamation if they leave up users' comments having been advised that they contain a defamatory allegation.
The new bill would also provide a process for ensuring defamatory posts can be taken down.
The government has long been mulling ways it can effectively police the internet, especially after the furore created when posters on Twitter published the names of individuals, such as the footballer Ryan Giggs, who had taken out so-called super-injunctions.
Earlier this year, attorney general Dominic Grieve warned the courts would issue contempt proceedings against those who used social media to break injunctions.
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