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Over 1,000 tweets removed following 'abhorrent racist abuse' of England players

Facebook said it has also removed comments and accounts “directing abuse at England’s footballers”.
Jul 12th 2021, 1:00 PM 29,081 41

TWITTER HAS REMOVED more than 1,000 tweets and suspended a number of accounts after racist abuse was directed towards a number of English football players.

The English Football Association said it was “appalled” after a number of its players were subjected to online racist abuse following Italy’s win over England at the Euro 2020 final. 

England player Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka all missed penalties in last night’s match. Their social media pages were quickly hit by racist comments.

Many people, including London Mayor Sadiq Khan, have since called on social media companies to do more to hold people accountable for sending online abuse.

“Those responsible for the disgusting online abuse we have seen must be held accountable – and social media companies need to act immediately to remove and prevent this hate,” Khan wrote on Twitter. 

A Twitter spokesperson said: “The abhorrent racist abuse directed at England players last night has absolutely no place on Twitter.

In the past 24 hours, through a combination of machine learning based automation and human review, we have swiftly removed over 1,000 Tweets and permanently suspended a number of accounts for violating our rules.

The spokesperson said most of these were detected “proactively using technology”.

“We have proactively engaged and continue to collaborate with our partners across the football community to identify ways to tackle this issue collectively and will continue to play our part in curbing this unacceptable behaviour — both online and offline.”

The platform said it has clear rules in place to address threats of violence, abuse, harrassment and hateful conduct – including hateful imagery and emojis.

A Facebook company spokesperson said: “No one should have to experience racist abuse anywhere, and we don’t want it on Instagram or Facebook.

We quickly removed comments and accounts directing abuse at England’s footballers last night and we’ll continue to take action against those that break our rules.

“In addition to our work to remove this content, we encourage all players to turn on Hidden Words on Instagram, a tool which means no one has to see abuse in their comments or DMs.”

The company said it doesn’t allow attacks on people based on race, religion, nationality or sexual orientation. 

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More than 33 million pieces of hate speech were removed from Facebook and Instagram between January and March this year, 93% of which before it was reported.

Earlier today, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the “appalling” racist abuse of England players on social media.

The Metropolitan Police in London also condemned the “unacceptable” abuse, adding it will be investigating the “offensive and racist” social media posts.

The force said in a statement on Twitter: “We are aware of a number of offensive and racist social media comments being directed towards footballers following the #Euro2020 final.

“This abuse is totally unacceptable, it will not be tolerated and it will be investigated.”

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Orla Dwyer


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