1. ITV Report

Find Madeleine McCann Twitter page deleted after 'toxic' posts directed at it

Madeleine McCann went missing while on holiday in Portugal in May 2007. Credit: PA

The official Twitter account behind the search for Madeleine McCann has been shut down due to "toxic content" being directed at it.

Those running the account said they had been dismayed by the "hatred and sheer viciousness directed at (Madeleine's parents) Kate and Gerry".

The decision comes after the administrators blocked the account which supports the campaign to find Ben Needham, saying they did not want to be "associated with some of the types of people they (@FindBen Needham) follow".

Madeleine was three years old when she disappeared from her bed in a holiday apartment in Portugal in May 2007.

Ben Needham went missing on July 24, 1991 from the Greek island of Kos, when he was 21 months old.

Ben Needham went missing in July 1991 on the Greek island of Kos. Credit: PA

Administrators running the @findmadeleine account said the decision was taken after speaking with her parents.

"They agree it's time to remove ourselves from a place that allows so much toxic content to be directed at us and does not permit us the ability to protect ourselves from people who want to damage the search for Madeleine," they wrote on Facebook.

"In the past three weeks on Twitter, we have found ourselves in the uncomfortable position of being expected to 'follow' people who align themselves with accounts that abuse us in the most vile ways on a regular basis.

"Because I was bullied into turning off the abuse protection feature Twitter provides, this has left us vulnerable to continued abuse on Twitter.

"As a result, deleting our Twitter account is the only option left to protect ourselves and the search for Madeleine."

Gerry and Kate McCann pictured in 2012, five years after their daughter vanished. Credit: PA

In an earlier Facebook post, the administrators wrote that they had made the decision to block anyone who "thwarts the search for Madeleine via social media".

A post on the Help Find Ben Needham Facebook page on Monday said: "Thank you to everyone for their support over the last few days. All recent posts regarding Twitter have been deleted and can we please ask you to keep this page about Ben and we all move on. We thank you all for your continuing support."