David Lammy calls on Twitter to 'get so much faster' at removing racist abuse

4 August 2020, 10:11

David Lammy criticised Twitter over the abuse
David Lammy criticised Twitter over the abuse. Picture: PA

By Ewan Somerville

Shadow justice secretary David Lammy has demanded Twitter “get so much faster” at tackling racism after he received a torrent of abuse online. 

The black Labour MP reported a tweet to the Metropolitan Police on Sunday that called him a “monkey boy” and said he would “hang from a lamppost”.

The user’s account was not suspended until Monday, despite Mr Lammy flagging the abuse several times saying he would not be “silenced” by “vile racists”. 

Home Secretary Priti Patel called for Twitter to take "decisive action" faster in such cases.

“I am sorry you have faced this awful racist abuse @DavidLammy,” she tweeted on Monday.  “I have asked the @metpoliceuk to keep me updated on their investigation.

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“As I have said before, @Twitter must take decisive action against this sort of vile content much faster.”

Mr Lammy responded: “Cross-party consensus can feel rare in British politics. 

“But @Twitter we are united on this. You need to get so much faster at stamping out racist threats and abuse.”

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Other MPs rushed to condemn the abuse, with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer saying: "Social media platforms must be quicker at taking action against hate. Racism has no place online or anywhere in our society."

The Metropolitan Police confirmed it had received "an allegation of malicious communication", adding: "The contents are being assessed."

It comes days after high-profile celebrities, politicians and campaigners staged a 48-hour boycott of Twitter accusing it of failing to tackle hate on its platform, following an anti-Semitic tirade from grime rapper Wiley’s account that stayed online for hours after it was posted. 

A Twitter spokesman said: "We have policies in place that address abuse and harassment, violent threats, and hateful conduct. "If we identify accounts that violate any of these rules, we'll take enforcement action."