Former Love Island contestant Amy Hart has said she has discovered she has been abused online by nurses and even had a death threat from a 13-year-old.
The 29-year-old influencer, who appeared in the 2019 series, told a committee of MPs that Instagram users’ identities should be verified.
“Everyone has a social security number,” she explained. “And if you’re under the age of 16 and don’t have one, your parents should have to get one for you, because one of my death threats was traced back to a 13-year-old.”
“You think, if that’s what they’re doing at 13 in their bedroom at their mother and father’s house, what are they going to do when they’re 18 and out on their own?” she added.
Many abusers use anonymous accounts, but if someone posts under their real name, Hart often looks them up, she told the Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) select committee.
‘Are you proud?’
“If someone messages me horrible things from their own account, I go straight to Facebook to see who they are,” Hart said.
“Nurses and people with husbands and children were trolling me. Do you go to dinner parties and tell your friends that you’re trolling random 29-year-old girls you’ve never met? Are you pleased with yourself? I’m not sure what you’re talking about.”
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Hart told the committee investigating influencer culture that she entered Love Island with 3,000 Instagram followers and left with more than a million.
“The [social media] networks are not supportive enough when it comes to trolling,” she told the committee. I’ve reported some messages in the past, and they’ve always responded with, ‘We looked into it, and it doesn’t violate community guidelines.’
‘Barrage of messages’
“And I’m like, look at this barrage of messages sent to me before seven a.m., telling me how much they hate me, how awful I am, why everyone hates me, how ugly I am – from a fake account, a trolling account, a burner account.” And you’re telling me that’s not against the rules?”
Hart went on to say that she’s realised it’s pointless to report abuse to the platforms. “I delete things, but you see those messages, and I’ve probably stopped reporting them now because I know it’s pointless,” she explained.
“Because the time it takes me, the process of doing, ‘Why are you reporting this message?’ and then it comes back a few hours later with a notification saying, ‘We have checked it and it doesn’t break community guidelines,'” she says.
Hart also stated that she received “amazing” support from ITV and the Love Island producers, with “welfare girls” calling her on a regular basis for 18 months after leaving the show, and therapy that is still available.
“Anytime you need therapy, ITV will always be there, and I am still friends with the producers, and they always check in on me,” she said.