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Communications via social media targeting specific individuals may involve the following:
- If communications sent via social media target a specific individual or individuals, they will fall under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 where they amount to a course of conduct within the meaning of section 7 of that Act. In such cases, prosecutors should follow the CPS Legal Guidance on Stalking and Harassment.
- Where communications target a specific individual and the offence of blackmail is made out, prosecutors should seek to prosecute the substantive offence.
- Where there is evidence of discrimination, prosecutors should pay particular regard to the provisions of section 28-32 of the Crime and 6 Disorder Act 1998 and section 145 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (increase in sentences for racial and religious aggravation) and section 146 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (increase in sentences for aggravation related to disability, sexual orientation or transgender identity).