AN East Lancashire businesswoman has spoken out about the amount of abuse and trolling she has suffered on social media.

Former Apprentice star Camilla Ainsworth, speaking to BBC's Graham Liver on his breakfast show on Tuesday, has raised awareness about social media bullying days after television presenter Caroline Flack was found dead in her north London home.

The 24-year-old, from Blackburn, reached the finals of the show in 2018 and despite the fact she was pipped to the post by fellow candidate Sian Gabbidon, Miss Ainsworth used her heightened public platform to bag a deal with Holland and Barrett, now sells her dairy-free nut milk in 630 stores nationwide.

The former Westholme School pupil, who has more than 43,000 followers on Instagram and almost 14,000 on Twitter, said she received abuse on a daily basis.

She said: "It's really, really bad, Twitter, Instagram, basically any platform where people can connect with you I have it and I'm still having it and it's nearly two years since the show.

"It's a 50/50 split of really inappropriate comments, just nasty comments, comments on appearance, comments on everything you do.

"It's really surprising because you don't expect everyone to have such a strong opinion on everything you do, but they do.

"At first you can kind of find it funny and read it out.

"It gets to a point where it's just not funny anymore.

"I feel like I was at that point a few weeks ago where I thought 'god this isn't funny anymore'."

When asked if people should turn off social media, Miss Ainsworth said: "I understand that, I have actually had a break from social media but for me is my business, it's a lot of people's platforms to communicate.

"I use social media to promote my business.

"It's everyone's right to have social media and I don't think anyone one should have to turn it off.

"I'm very mentally strong but I worry for those who aren't. I've got a great support network around me.

"Some of the messages are just so twisted.

"I get a lot from girls. I had one two days ago saying 'came on your profile to follow you for business but all for you do is post your disgusting figure and everyone is laughing at you behind your back', it's very psychological, you're not prepared for that kind of stuff."

However Miss Ainsworth said not all the comments were negative.

She said: "I really do appreciate the positive comments, I've got some lovely comments and I do try my best to reply.

"But the bad stuff does get the most air time and they want a reaction.

"I just block them, I don't give them the time of day unless I want to make an example out of them and educate people.

"I block them but they make another profile and I can tell by the way they're speaking its the same person.

"My block list, oh my lord, you'd have repetitive strain injury going through that.

"It's really long, but I take no prisoners now, if anyone is nasty I just block them straight away.

"But when I wake up at 8am for social media that's the first thing I'm seeing.

"I'm trying to shift my morning routine, I've turned off my Instagram story replies."

Miss Ainsworth said trolls are even creeping into LinkedIn - a social media website for professional people.

She said she is also concerned about younger generations being bullied at school and online.

She said: "It makes me so worried because it's been two years now to think someone younger, I'm 24, but to think someone younger is having that and being bullied at school it would be so much negativity to deal with.

"I think it lies with social media companies.

"Instagram was about posting your 'living your best life' pictures, but now it's a way of communicating with you really easily.

"People can say anything and reply to anything and it needs.

"I would like to see platforms have stronger repercussions."

"You need to be able to send evidence of what people have said.

"I think they need to make it harder to communicate with people in direct messages.

"I've tried to report things before but the process is really complicated."

"I don't understand why people are so nasty."