Priti Patel suggested she is planning to remove the right to anonymity online, to stop “cruel and relentless” comments direct at MPs.
The Home Secretary warned she wanted to make some “big changes” in law, saying things cannot continue as they are.
She told Sky News: “This is about wider public discourse and I would go as far to say social media and anonymity on social media, where Members of Parliament are the subject of some of the most cruel comments and attacks, and they are relentless.
“I’ve seen my colleagues go through some of the most appalling attacks online, and I have as well.”
Legislation on removing anonymity
Patel said she wanted to look at “everything” and that work is already taking place to introduce legislation on removing the right to online anonymity.
She added: “We’ve got an Online Harms Bill that will come to parliament. There’s work taking place on it right now.
“I’ve done a lot of work on the social media platforms, mainly around encryption and areas of that nature.
“But we can’t carry on like this. I spend too much time with communities who have been under attack, who’ve had all sorts of postings put online and it’s a struggle to get those postings taken down. We want to make some big changes on that.”
Rio Ferdinand warned about online racist abuse
Last month, former England footballer and TV pundit Rio Ferdinand said being anonymous online “gives you a certain amount of power”, when giving evidence at Parliament about online racist abouse.
Ferdinand warned the abuse will continue to happen in real life if it is allowed to go on unheeded.
Giving evidence at Parliament about online racist abuse in the aftermath of Euro 2020, Ferdinand said that when Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka missed the penalties, his first thought was to check what was happening on social media.
He said: “I expected what happened to happen. And that is the disappointing thing.”
“A black player is representing the country and doing great things. And they make no mistake, but they miss a penalty. And they have to sit there and go through abuse in the coming days via social media, it’s totally disheartening.”
Ferdinand said it is not just the players who “shouldn’t have to go through this”. He said racism affects their families and friends too, and added: “I’ve seen members of my family kind of disintegrate at times when situations like this happen.”
He called for punishments to be set out, coupled with education, whilst saying that being anonymous online is “an absolute problem for everybody in the society”.
He said: “The fact that you can be anonymous online, gives you a certain amount of power, enables you to puff your chest out and be able to really say what you really feel especially compounded with the fact that there’s no repercussions at the moment.”
Related: Rio Ferdinand calls on government to punish and educate online abusers