CONVICTIONS for internet abuse have more than doubled in the space of five years alongside the enormous growth in popularity of social media sites.
Official figures show the number of people found guilty under section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 has grown each year from 498 in 2007 to 1,286 in 2011.
They were found guilty of “sending or causing the sending of grossly offensive/indecent/obscene/menacing or false message/matter by electronic communications network”.
Labour MP Andrew Gwynne, who requested the figures in a parliamentary question, called for internet guidelines to curb internet harassment.
However, freedom-of-speech campaigners have criticised the act’s section 127, claiming that it was being overused by the police and prosecutors.