BBC's Laura Kuenssberg Says She Thought About Quitting Twitter Over Abuse

George Bowden
Laura Kuenssberg has said she thought about switching off her social media accounts in the wake of increased vitriol online.

The BBC’s political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, has said she considered deleting her social media presence amid an increasingly “ugly” online atmosphere.

Kuenssberg, known to millions as the corporation’s most senior reporter in Westminster, said that despite being an early supporter of using online networks to speak to audiences, she came to dread reading comments about her work.

“I’ve tried to pull back and I’ve thought about coming off it altogether,” Kuenssberg told author and former Labour spin doctor Tom Baldwin in an interview for a new book. “Partly that’s because it’s uglier out there now; it’s like a playground where people want to shout each other down.”

“I don’t read the comments people write about me, it’s not worth it,” she added. “I can’t be arsed to get into spats where people fighting online have already made their mind up and, if I got sucked into that I wouldn’t have time to do anything else...”

Her comments were made to Baldwin for his book Ctrl Alt Delete: How Politics and the Media Crashed Our Democracy, published last week, which argues democracy has “crashed” like a computer and may need to be “re-booted”.

The New York Times White House correspondent, Maggie Haberman, said on Friday that she has stepped away from Twitter due to increasing “toxic partisan anger”. The political reporter, who has broken dozens of stories out of the Trump administration, had been on the network for nine years and would tweet many times a day.

“Twitter is now an anger video game for many users,” Haberman reflected in a piece for the Times. “It is the only platform on which people feel free to say things they’d never say to someone’s face. For me, it had become an enormous and pointless drain on my time and mental energy.”