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Premier League And PFA Call On Twitter And Facebook To Stop Online Abuse

Premier League And PFA Call On Twitter And Facebook To Stop Online Abuse

English football's organising bodies unite to call out social media "inaction".

Alex Reid

Alex Reid

The Premier League, FA, PFA and other UK football bodies have united to demand social media companies do more to combat online abuse.

The open letter directed at Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey (CEOs of Facebook and Twitter respectively) calls on them for reasons of "basic human decency" to tackle the attacks aimed at people in football.

Racist and discriminatory abuse has only increased in recent months, with some footballers closing their social media accounts after vile, anonymous attacks. The letter claims that Twitter and Facebook "remain havens for abuse".

The letter begins: "As recent weeks have seen the levels of vicious, offensive abuse from users of your services aimed at footballers and match officials rise even further, 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.

It continues: "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 likes of Manchester United's Axel Tuanzebe, Anthony Martial and Lauren James; Chelsea's Reece James and Antonio Rudiger; and Swansea's Yan Dhanda have all been racially abused via social media. And that is just in recent weeks and very much the tip of the iceberg of what players and officials have faced.

A Facebook response, issued by a company spokesperson, stated: "We don't want hate and racism on our platforms and remove it when we find it.

"The new measures we announced yesterday, which include tougher action when we become aware of people breaking our rules in DMs, further build on the work we do to tackle this.

"We are part of the working group convened by Kick it Out and will continue to work alongside all the industry bodies, the police and the Government to help tackle racism both on and offline."

The football organisations' letter makes the demand that: "Messages and posts should be filtered and blocked before being sent or posted if they contain racist or discriminatory material.

"You should operate robust, transparent, and swift measures to take down abusive material if it does get into circulation.

"All users should be subject to an improved verification process that (only if required by law enforcement) allows for accurate identification of the person behind the account. Steps should also be taken to stop a user that has sent abuse previously from re-registering an account.

"Your platforms should actively and expeditiously assist the investigating authorities in identifying the originators of illegal discriminatory material."

The letter is signed by the heads of the Premier League, FA, EFL, women's professional game, PFA, League Managers Association, the Professional Game Match Officials Board (PGMOL) plus Kick It Out.

The united call for change has been welcomed across football.

Featured image credit: PA Images

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Topics: Football News, Football, PFA, Premier League, FA