Twitter deletes over 1,000 racist tweets after Euro final

12 July 2021, 13:54

Twitter has deleted more than 1,000 tweets after some England footballers were the targets of racist abuse on social media
Twitter has deleted more than 1,000 tweets after some England footballers were the targets of racist abuse on social media. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

Twitter says it has deleted over 1,000 racist tweets after England footballers became the target of online racist abuse following their Euro 2020 final loss on Sunday.

Twitter called the abuse "abhorrent" and "unacceptable", and vowed to continue working with the football community to "tackle this issue collectively".

“The abhorrent racist abuse last night has absolutely no place on Twitter,” a Twitter spokesperson said on Monday.

“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.

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“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-owned Instagram also saw a torrent of racist abuse aimed at players.

Facebook said that they were "quickly" removing racist comments and the accounts they came from, and said they were "committed" to protecting their community from abuse.

"No one should have to experience racist abuse anywhere, and we don’t want it on Instagram,” a Facebook 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.

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“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.”

Emotions ran high after Sunday's final, which saw Italy beat England in a penalty shootout.

Following the racist abuse levelled at players - particularly Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka who missed their penalties - the Football Association (FA) issued a statement saying social media companies needed to take more responsibility for content that is shared on their platforms.

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"The FA strongly condemns all forms of discrimination and is appalled by the online racism that has been aimed at some of our England players on social media," a spokesperson said.

"We could not be clearer that anyone behind such disgusting behaviour is not welcome in following the team. We will do all we can to support the players affected while urging the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible.

"We will continue to do everything we can to stamp discrimination out of the game, but we implore government to act quickly and bring in the appropriate legislation so this abuse has real life consequences.

"Social media companies need to step up and take accountability and action to ban abusers from their platforms, gather evidence that can lead to prosecution and support making their platforms free from this type of abhorrent abuse."