THE row between ex-England footballer Stan Collymore and Twitter over abusive comments has divided opinion among Bolton's fans of the social network.
Emma Davies, wife of former Bolton Wanderers star, Kevin Davies, says the couple have both experienced abuse on Twitter — and that the best way to deal with it is to ignore it.
However, University of Bolton lecturer Jamie Coles called for Twitter to take action to stop the abuse.
Collymore has criticised Twitter for not doing more to protect people from online abuse after claiming that children as young as 10 were posting racist and sexist comments.
The Talksport radio pundit contacted police after receiving a string of racist comments and a death threat.
He said: “I shouldn’t be racially abused or have someone saying I am going to turn up at your house and murder you.”
Both Kevin and Emma Davies temporarily quit Twitter following abuse.
Mrs Davies said: “Stan is a good friend and I don’t want to criticise him, but I just think that when he re-tweets these comments he is making things worse — he is giving them a voice.
“When I was first getting abuse on Twitter, Kevin sat me down and just said ‘Why are you letting these people affect you?’ and he was right — they are pond life and we should actually feel sorry for them.”
Mrs Davies said that she talked to Collymore about the issue when she and Kevin were on holiday with him. She added: “He said that when he reports or blocks these people, they just make another account to send abuse from, so there is nothing twitter can do — he just shouldn’t give them any attention.”
Mr Coles, a lecturer in creative technologies at the university, said: “There are some positive aspects to Twitter and some great communities that students use — but we have also seen them receiving abuse, after posting work online.”
“One thing Twitter could look at is blocking a computer’s individual IP address, meaning anyone using that device could not access the site.”
Bolton comedian Paddy McGuiness is another celebrity who has fallen victim to the Twitter trolls.
In 2010 he closed his account after abuse was aimed at his family. At the time he tweeted: “I'm a big lad and can take criticism on the chin but when it's aimed at loved ones and family, that’s just not on.”
In 2012, student Liam Stacey was jailed for 56 days for racially aggravated public disorder directed at ex-Wanderers player Fabrice Muamba after he had collapsed and nearly died on the White Hart Lane pitch.
Bolton residents have weighed in on both sides of the argument.
James Partington, aged 21, said: “They should be punished — I don’t know how, but they should be.
And 68-year-old Albert Smith added: “If you are being abused on these sites then just don’t use them — you are better off ignoring them and getting on with your life.”