PM to meet with social media companies to discuss online abuse

13 July 2021, 13:48

Boris Johnson will meet social media companies to discuss cyber abuse
Boris Johnson will meet social media companies to discuss cyber abuse. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

Boris Johnson will be meeting with social media companies later today to discuss online abuse, days after some England footballers were the targets of racist comments on social media.

Mr Johnson condemned the abuse of Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, who faced a barrage of racist comments on their social media channels after missing their penalties at Sunday's Euro final against Italy.

Mr Johnson addressed the matter in the opening of Monday's Downing Street press conference, saying: "To those who have been directing racist abuse at some of the players, I say shame on you.

"I hope you will crawl back under the rock from which you emerged."

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He went on to say: "This entire team played like heroes and I'm sure that this is just the beginning of their achievements.

"I say bring on Qatar next year and let's also dare to start to hope that, together with Ireland, our United Kingdom can host the World Cup in 2030."

Mr Johnson was not the only politician to condemn the abuse received by the players, with Labour leader Keir Starmer and Home Secretary Priti Patel also joining him.

But the latter has since found herself accused of hypocrisy by England defender Tyrone Mings, who tweeted: "You don't get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as 'Gesture Politics' & then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we're campaigning against, happens."

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The events since the final - including the defacing and subsequent repainting of a Marcus Rashford mural in Manchester - sparked a petition calling for lifetime bans for racists from football, which by midday on Tuesday was fast approaching one million signatures.

As well as meeting with social media companies, Mr Johnson will also host a reception with anti-bullying ambassadors to celebrate the launch of the Don’t Face it Alone campaign from youth charity The Diana Award.