Erin Molan has helped convict an online troll who threatened her life and that of her unborn baby daughter leaving her terrified for her safety.
The man sent the then heavily pregnant Channel 9 star a stream of violent messages on Facebook which left her afraid he would “hunt” her down and kill her.
The troll, who initially slammed her for being the host of the NRL Footy Show, then messaged that he hoped she would miscarry her baby.
One message read: “I wish u a f. n still born I wish u a f. n still born I wish u a f. n still born AND U DIE IN THE PROCESS … hip hip hooray hip hip HOORAY” and another: “ya need to be FACE F. D VIOLENTLY”
Molan, at the time 33 weeks pregnant, reported the man’s relentless online abuse to Chatswood Police after she felt his tone changed from abuse to threats of violence.
She said she reported the abuse to Facebook but received an electronic reply saying the messages were not “abusive or offensive” enough to take action.
After being contacted by The Sunday Telegraph, Facebook last night deleted two accounts belonging to the man.
Spokesman Ben McConaghy said: “Creating a space where people feel safe to express themselves is absolutely critical to us — if our services aren’t safe, people won’t use them.
“Our bullying and harassment policies are clear; we don’t allow this type of vile content on Facebook and we’ll remove it as soon as it’s reported to us.”
The man was arrested after failing to appear in court and convicted, fined $1000 and given an eight-month suspended sentence.
“It got to the stage where the messages became so constant, it was so vile and it was affecting how I lived and how safe I felt,” Molan told The Sunday Telegraph.
“I am used to copping nasty comments, I am not a snowflake, I can cop that, but when it gets to the stage when I felt unsafe and I was heavily pregnant, and someone is threatening my life and the life of my child, it’s too much.”
Molan, whose daughter Eliza is now 11 months old, said she does not want to be seen as a “victim” and decided to speak out so trolls know there are serious consequences for abuse.
“People need to know they are accountable for their actions online,” she said.
“That’s not people who write nasty things … but it’s people who threaten, intimidate and cross the line and need to know they are accountable.
“I look at other women who are doing similar things (calling out trolls), like AFLW footballer Tayla Harris … I think it is a wonderful thing.
“If every person thinks twice: ‘I might be held accountable. I might be convicted. I might have to go to court if I threaten or intimidate someone,’ then I think that’s a great thing for society. No one should live in fear because of someone else’s actions.”
Molan said she has no ill will towards the man who threatened her and did not want to discuss his identity.
The man started to abuse Molan after she became the first female host of Channel 9’s Footy Show. She initially blocked the user on Facebook but he would re-emerge with a new profile and she would block him again.
Messages seen by the Sunday Telegraph show him saying “may you have a still born” and “I mean pretty please have a still born” and “hope you have a still born ya f … n thing … everyone one I know cant f … n stand ya … die ya f … n thing”.
“He kept finding ways to get into my inbox,” she said.
Molan said more needed to be done by Facebook to protect its users and stamp out violent and extreme content.
“Facebook, they are certainly not doing enough,” Molan said.
A Facebook spokesman confirmed Molan had blocked the user and the comments were in breach of its standards but was unable to locate a record of Molan’s complaint.
“I don’t know if they do take it seriously,” Molan said.
“I reported it to Facebook but they didn’t deem the messages to be abusive and offensive.
“I felt horrendous after Facebook reached that conclusion. I would love to know what they gauge to be offensive, if that’s not. I have deleted Facebook.”
Facebook’s spokesman said in the past year it had tripled its safety team and took action on 2.1 million pieces of content in just three months.