Instagram, Facebook and Twitter commit to work to remove abuse as racism floods platforms after Euros final

Andrew Griffin
Monday 12 July 2021 14:53 BST
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Instagram, Facebook and Twitter have committed to remove racist abuse as it spreads across their platforms in the wake of the Euro 2020 final.

Players including Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho – who all took penalties during the loss to Italy – have been hit by a stream of racist abuse on their social media accounts in the wake of the match.

The racist posts have led to criticism of those posting bigotry, but also of the social media firms, who have been accused of failing to do enough to remove such content from their platforms.

In February, the FA and other footballing bodies sent a letter to Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey, asking them to “use the power of your global systems to bring this to an end”.

Now Twitter and Facebook, which owns Instagram, have said they are working to remove such posts from their platforms and that they would look to do the same as it continues.

In response to the latest online attacks, Twitter labelled the abuse “abhorrent”, saying it 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 vast majority of which we detected ourselves proactively using technology,” the company said in a statement.

“We will continue to take action when we identify any tweets or accounts that violate our policies.

“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.”

Facebook - which owns Instagram - said it tries to remove harmful content as quickly as possible and encouraged people to use the tools it offers to block abuse.

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

“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, a tool which means no-one has to see abuse in their comments or DMs.

“No one thing will fix this challenge overnight, but we’re committed to keeping our community safe from abuse.”

Additional reporting by agencies

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in