Twitter suspends account which mocked death of DUP MLA’s disabled son

Diane Dodds MLA Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

A DUP MLA has welcomed the suspension of a Twitter account which mocked the death of her disabled son.

However, Diane Dodds said Twitter must now take “swift and decisive action” to protect users from online abuse.

Mrs Dodds was targeted on December 31 after posting a new year’s message to her followers.

An anonymous user replied with an abusive response by making reference to her dead son Andrew.

Andrew was born with spina bifida and died in 1998 just before his ninth birthday.

The account which posted the tweet has since been suspended, according to a message received by those who lodged complaints about the account.

Mrs Dodds accused Twitter of “almost a week of inaction”.

“Twitter have finally lived up to their responsibilities and suspended the account which had dedicated itself to vile and depraved online attacks,” she said.

“I have been truly humbled and touched by the groundswell of support and encouragement from across Northern Ireland and I have no doubt that the universal revulsion at these disgraceful actions forced Twitter to act.

“This episode must be a catalyst for change in protecting online users from those fuelled by hate. Twitter must take swift and decisive action to cooperate with the police to bring such individuals to justice and implement safeguarding policies.

“For my part, I will continue to advocate for victims of online attacks and support the introduction of legislative action to properly protect users from these cowardly attacks.”

A police investigation into the incident is ongoing.