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by Ruaraidh Gilmour
07 June 2023
Scottish Parliament to trial social media monitoring service to manage online threats against MSPs

Scottish Parliament chamber | Alamy

Scottish Parliament to trial social media monitoring service to manage online threats against MSPs

The Scottish Parliament will trial a social media monitoring service to manage online threats against MSPs for the next 12 months.  

Following the murder of Conservative MP Sir David Amess in 2021, the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body (SPCB) began a review of the personal security provision for MSPs and staff.  

The review identified immediate actions and also longer-term projects, one being a trial service to manage online threats against MSPs.  

MSPs were sent an email informing them that the opt-in service will commence on 12 June and will be delivered by the former parliament police unit inspector, who has been recruited to the parliament security office on a two-year appointment as an information security analyst.  

The service will operate by searching for threatening and abusive language across open-source data available on social media platforms and will aim to provide early notice to participating members of potential online threats towards them. The service will work with partner organisations, including Police Scotland, to offer tailored advice and support to affected members.  

The parliament hopes to have 20 members trial the new service and has six who have already opted in ahead of its launch next week.  

Scottish Parliament spokesperson said: “The SPCB is acutely aware of the rising level of online abuse and intimidation towards elected representatives.  

“This pilot service will help us to escalate potentially criminal matters to Police Scotland.  

“It will also highlight other in-house sources of support to help MSPs and their staff stay safe online.”

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