A Labour MP has claimed the coronavirus pandemic provoked a tirade of online abuse at a level not seen since the 2014 independence referendum campaign.
Ian Murray said it was his democratic duty as an opposition politician to ask questions of the Scottish Government and its response to the global health crisis.
But the shadow Scottish secretary claimed he was subjected to a barrage of messages on social media any time he commented on the performance of Holyrood ministers.
Murray spoke out after a fake picture of him standing in front of a Loyalist flag was shared hundreds of times on Facebook last weekend before being removed.
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The Edinburgh South MP told the Record: "This happens regularly. People on Facebook are putting out false stories and false pictures to try and cause a bit of hassle. It's not necessarily deliberate but it is very prevalent.
"I've received hundreds of emails and Facebook social media messages in the last week for daring to criticise or question the Scottish Government. It's out of control.
"It's intensified in recent months but in recent weeks it's got even worse. Every time you put your head above the parapet, they are all there to shoot you down. The kind of disinformation that gets put out is incredible."
Murray was the only Scottish Labour MP to hold his seat at last year's general election and was a prominent member of the successful Better Together campaign at the 2014 independence referendum.
He said the levels of social media abuse he experienced at that time have since returned.
"If the baseline of the referendum was 100, I think after it dropped quite considerably," he added.
"Then with Brexit, the drive for an IndyRef2, and me being the only Labour MP left in Scotland, it's just ramped up to 2014 levels. We are crossing that baseline already.
"This is on all sides but I'm only giving you my experience. And my experience is that the pro-independence movement is very loud and very abusive on social media - not all of it, of course.
"Every party and every argument has had this problem. But this is my experience of what I'm seeing at the moment."
Murray said there were legitimate questions the Scottish Government must answer on its handling of the pandemic.
"I can see why Nicola Sturgeon performs better as a communicator when the bar that has been set is Boris Johnson," he continued. "The bar could not be set any lower.
"But there are key questions that need to be asked in Scotland. What I'm trying to do is ask legitimate questions.
"If people think everything is going wonderfully in Scotland, why do we have one of the highest death rates in the world, why was our care home death rate 50% higher than in England, and why are we testing only three to four thousand a day?
"These are key things the Scottish Government need to be held to account on. Health statistics show they are doing - comparatively in international terms - pretty poorly."
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “As we have repeatedly made clear, figures contrasting Scottish and UK testing rates are not directly comparable.
“Every life lost to the virus is a tragedy, including those in our care homes, where the mortality rate is in line with that in many other countries.
“We are doing everything possible to protect lives, and the number of excess deaths in care homes from all causes – including Covid-19 – has been lower in Scotland than in other parts of the UK."