English football calls on social media to do more to tackle racist abuse

London, Feb 11 (efe-epa).- Leading groups in English football have criticized social media giants like Twitter and Facebook for their perceived lack of action to tackle racist or discriminatory abuse targeting players on their platforms.

In an open letter sent to Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook, and Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter, the chief executive officers of the Premier League, Football Association and English Football League as well as representatives of the players, referees and managers unions and the anti-racism organisation Kick It Out, called on the social media companies to do more to remove users responsible for racially abusing or otherwise discriminating against players and referees.

“We write to ask that for reasons of basic human decency you use the power of your global systems to bring this to an end.

“The language used is debasing, often threatening and illegal. It causes distress to the recipients and the vast majority of people who abhor racism, sexism and discrimination of any kind,” the letter read.

Despite several meetings with executives of the social media companies in recent years to address the problem, the platforms “remain havens for abuse,” the letter continued.

“Your inaction has created the belief in the minds of the anonymous perpetrators that they are beyond reach. The relentless flow of racist and discriminatory messages feeds on itself: the more it is tolerated by Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, platforms with billions of users, the more it becomes normal, accepted behaviour.”

The letter comes after several high profile players in the Premier League, including Manchester United trio Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Axel Tuanzebe, as well as Chelsea’s Anthony Rudiger, were targeted with racist abuse on social media in recent weeks.

“The targets of abuse should be offered basic protections, and we ask that you accept responsibility for preventing abuse from appearing on your platforms and go further than you have promised to do to date,” the letter said.

The letter called on social media companies to improve filtering processes to block abusive messages from being shared, boost measures to swiftly remove illegal or abusive material and improve verification procedures to reduce the protection of anonymity the platforms have provided. EFE-EPA


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