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Dublin: 14°C Tuesday 16 August 2022

Miss Ireland describes 'disgusting' trolling against her - and calls on social media companies to take action

Chelsea Farrell said she’d received a stream of abuse messages since being crowned Miss Ireland.

Chelsea Farrell, who was crowned Miss Ireland last year.
Chelsea Farrell, who was crowned Miss Ireland last year.
Image: MissWorld

MISS IRELAND WINNER Chelsea Farrell has said that targeted online abuse got so bad she would be “crying all the time”. 

Farrell, who was crowned Miss Ireland in 2019, appeared on RTÉ Radio One’s Today with Claire Byrne to discuss the abuse she’s received on social media in recent months. 

She’s now calling for social media companies to take action to tackle such abuse. 

“It all began in September last year, when I won the Miss Ireland title,” she told the programme. “And it has not stopped since.”

The abuse only escalated from there, as her profile on Instragram grew. By the time lockdown began in March, the attacks grew more abusive and more personal.

“It just grew and grew. As I grew, the nastiness and the fake accounts and the trolling grew,” she said.

Comments sent to her included “You have a face that belongs at the bottom of the ocean”, while she was also told to “watch your back”. 

She described the effect the messages, which she believes are coming from one person or a small group of people, had on her mental health. 

“It was really abusive, when I found it started to affect me,” she said. “It was getting the point where I was crying all the time. And things were hard enough at that stage.”

Eventually, she took a break from Instragram. But when she returned, the abuse continued. 

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She said Instagram wasn’t just a hobby, but a key part of her career. “It’s not fair we have to come off it due to this abuse,” she said. 

The abuse comes from fake, often hastily deleted profiles on Instagram. She described “disgusting” messages that encouraged her to commit suicide. Farrell also talked about how trolls targeted the TikTok account she had created for her little sister to use during lockdown. 

“We’re all human. And I think people forget, when you put yourself out there on social media, people think you don’t have feelings. But we do.”

“I would sit at home and cry for hours on end over it. But at the same time, you don’t want these people to know it’s affecting you,” she said.  

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