In the latest social media guidelines from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), trolls who create fake online profiles to harass their victims will face criminal charges.
The measure has been put in place to tackle those who make a profile pretending to be someone in particular, for the purpose of posting humiliating material about them. It could now count as an offence such as harassment or grossly offensive communication.
In a statement, the CPS clarified: "It may be a criminal offence if a profile is created under the name of the victim with fake information uploaded which, if believed, could damage their reputation and humiliate them. In some cases the information could then be shared in such a way that it appears as though the victim has themselves made the statements."
Alison Saunders, director of public prosecutions, added that there would be a "high threshold" for the offence, so that the law doesn't stand in the way of free speech. Making a parody Twitter account for a celebrity, for instance, would be fine - but the law could come into play "where it is used for crime, and where it is seriously impacting on people's lives".
Other decisions announced in the new guidelines include measures regarding 'revenge porn'. The CPS clarifies that posting humiliating material under a victim's name can be prosecuted under the revenge pornography offences, and Saunders supports granting anonymity to online abuse victims.
She said: "The revenge pornography offence is all about humiliating, embarrassing, causing distress to the victims. By going to court and not having any anonymity and any protection, it to some extent does exacerbate that."