South Yorkshire Police are warning people to think before they post “amidst turbulent political times”,
The force said while many are tempted to share their views online, posting grossly offensive, indecent, menacing or threatening content which purposely causes distress or anxiety to the recipient is a crime.
ACC Tim Forber at South Yorkshire Police said: “Social media, when used for positive purposes, is a great way to share opinions, views and beliefs, and connect with a wide audience of people from all kinds of backgrounds.
“However, sometimes sharing strays into a different territory. Some people feel that because they are behind a screen they can get away with posting malicious content, but offences of this type can be punishable by a prison sentence of up to two years and/or a fine.
“We want to urge people to consider their actions online, and think before they post.
“A seemingly small act online can reap massive consequences - for the victim and perpetrator alike.
“If in doubt, if you wouldn’t say it to someone in person, certainly don’t say it online.”
Examples of malicious communication include discrimination of any kind, obscene images, videos or text, or posts which incite violence.