Soccer players pressure Instagram to do more to stop racism

·1 min read

LONDON — Instagram said it will disable accounts that repeatedly send racist messages after soccer players in England expressed anger about being targeted with abuse.

The British government has also put pressure on social media companies, including Instagram owner Facebook, to do more to remove racists from their platforms.

Facebook pledged to disable accounts that send direct messages with abuse but declined to say why it had decided to act now, when players had been asking for tougher action for years. Players in England boycotted social media for 24 hours in 2019.

“We have always been committed to tackling hate and racism on our platform, it’s an issue we take very seriously," Facebook content policy manager Fadzai Madzingira said in a statement.

Players including Chelsea defender Reece James and sister Lauren James of Manchester United have criticized Instagram.

“Instagram doesn’t even have a clear ‘Racism’ option in their reporting system," Lauren James said after highlighting the abuse she received last week.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said tougher action must be taken.

“For too long the world’s most popular and powerful social media companies have failed to tackle the stream of horrific racist attacks on their platforms,” Dowden said. “I welcome Instagram’s improved policies but racist abuse is still a fact of life for too many people and more has to be done across the board to stamp it out.

“We’re introducing a new age of accountability for these companies through our upcoming Online Safety Bill and this could see huge fines for firms which fail to clearly and transparently protect their users.”


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The Associated Press