Twitter and Facebook have acted to stamp out racial abuse directed at black England players after they lost the Euro 2020 final to Italy. The football community had boycotted all social media in April in protest of the discrimination on social media.

What is being asked for?

The first is that: “Messages and posts should be filtered and blocked before being sent or posted if they contain racist or discriminatory material.”

The second is that “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”.

What do the companies say?

Both Twitter and Facebook have said that they immediately remove any abusive messages.

Twitter said that “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”.

“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.” a Facebook spokesperson added. “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.”

What is the government going to do?

“I share the anger at appalling racist abuse of our heroic players. Social media companies need to up their game in addressing it and, if they fail to, our new Online Safety Bill will hold them to account with fines of up to 10 percent of global revenue.” Oliver Dowden said.

The online safety bill was published in May. It requires social media to address harm but does not define what exactly the harm is. The Government hopes that the bill will help reduce the racial abuse suffered by players on Twitter and Facebook.

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