Just recently, columnist Julie Burchill accused Lily Allen of being an ‘over-privileged cry-baby’. The pop star retaliated on Twitter by accusing Julie of being ‘an ignorant and bitter old troll’.
Piers Morgan and Rio Ferdinand traded blows for four hours on Twitter while Wayne Rooney responded to a Liverpool fan’s insults by tweeting: ‘I’ll put you to sleep in ten seconds.’
But it’s not just celebrities who are using social networking sites for public slanging matches. Cuckolded plumber Ian Puddick was cleared of harassment after he used the internet to circulate graphic details of his wife’s affair.
This might be an extreme example, but it seems online spite is a growing trend.
My friend Sarah was horrified at being described in a chatroom as ‘facially hideous’, ‘ugly’ and ‘chunky’ after her photo was used in an online article.