A TRANS journalist has faced people posting their personal details online and calls for Police Scotland to take action against them and after they were wrongly identified by an anonymous troll on Twitter.

Steph Paton, who writes a regular column for The National, found themselves targeted by anti-trans campaigners on social media after a troll account claimed to have identified them as the person who held a controversial “decapitate terfs” sign at a rally in January.

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The sign sparked a police probe and outrage among politicians, but the person who held it has not been identified or named.

However, Twitter account @moomintroll41 wrongly claimed on Wednesday evening to have found the person in question.

“Dear @PoliceScotland I believe that this is the vile individual you were looking for in connection with the decapitate terfs sign,” they wrote, adding: “Please deal with him. Thanks.”

The National:

The anonymous user shared a screenshot of Paton’s Twitter account, which showed they are followed by former SNP chief executive Peter Murrell, as well as that they are based in Govanhill, in Glasgow.

The post – which is still live – has been retweeted around 250 times and liked around 600 times. Four people have “bookmarked” it.

Many took the tweet to be true – despite the fact that Paton was not even in the country when the controversial sign was seen.

"@PoliceScotland this is the person who you are looking for who held the vile decapitate terfs sign recently!!! Hope you do something," one user wrote.

Comments beneath the @moomintroll41 post featured targeted harassment of the journalist, who users called a “piece of sh*t” and a "psycho" as well as suggesting that Police Scotland had not taken action because Paton was followed by Murrell.

Other users looked to "dox" Paton – meaning they revealed details of their private information online – posting things such as their phone number, and even colleague’s names.

“It’s part and parcel of being a trans person online,” Paton told The National. “It just comes with a certain amount of abuse and eventually you just get desensitised to it.

“But I would say that this one did feel a step up. As someone that’s recognisable in the sense that I write about this issue, definitely this was very much about putting a target on me. I don’t know if there’s any doubt about that.”

They added: “That sign has obviously upset a lot of anti-trans activists who see it as a violent threat, and by trying to pin it onto me, even though it literally had nothing to do with me, and sharing personal information about where I can be found, it feels like there’s a very clear implication in that.”

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Paton said that people had been posting their personal details in what was “obviously a very direct attempt to have me fired from my job”.

“That’s what they’re doing. That’s why they’re tagging my employers,” they went on. “They go on about ‘silencing’ all the time, but they’re some of the worst offenders for it.”

Paton said that, for some people, the damage caused by the false information in the tweet was already done.

“There isn’t an interest in the truth,” they said, “but there is a need to attack and undermine, and the information that they’re sharing to do so, it’s often pretty irrelevant whether it’s true or not.

“For some people, I will be the person who held that sign up. It does not matter how much they are shown that that is obviously not me.

“Whoever that person is – I don’t know them, they look like ten years younger than me whoever they are, so on the one hand – thanks?, but on the other hand, this will now filter in and become a fact for a lot of people. It does not matter how much they see to the contrary.”

Despite posts telling the @moomintroll41 account that they had wrongly identified Paton, the user has not yet deleted anything.

“He’s saying it isn’t him but he looks very similar and until someone names the perpetrator, then how can we find out the truth,” they responded to one post which said they “hope he gets his comeuppance”.

But Paton is not letting the one anonymous troll, and the waves they caused, get them down.

“I definitely feel it will blow over,” Paton says. “It generally does. But I would say this is one of the most, I mean, the amount that it was shared and the scale of the comments on it is probably a step up from what I would say I’m used to, and what I’m used to is already pretty messed up.”