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UK government to hold social media accountable for abuse on its platforms

The UK government is set to change the law to make social media companies more accountable for the abuse on its platforms, following the recent racial abuse of football players.

Over the past couple of weeks, conversations around social media and and footballers came to the forefront once again after the likes of Manchester United's Axel Tuanzebe, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, as well as West Bromwich Albion's Romain Sawyers and Chelsea's Reece James were the subject of racial abuse on social platforms.

Following this weekends game against Everton FC, Tuanzebe once again found himself targeted by abuse, alongside Lauren James, forcing the FA into calling on the government to act quickly in the fight against online racist abuse in the game.

Oliver Dowden, the secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), tweeted: "Online racist abuse of footballers is absolutely shocking & must stop. In advance of this recent spate of cases, I called a mtg [meeting] to hear first-hand accounts of the daily abuse players receive and the awful toll it takes on them.

"We are going to change the law to make social media companies more accountable for what happens on their platforms & they can start showing their duty of care to players today by weeding out racist abuse now.

"Players must not be abused for doing their jobs, enough is enough."

The FA released a statement of their own after learning of the abuse of Tuanzebe and James over a weekend where once again, goings-on off the field overshadowed what had occurred on the field.

"It has been yet another weekend where players are facing discriminatory abuse and having to deal with anonymous keyboard warriors who hide in a world of impunity. At The FA, we believe that enough is enough," the statement read.

"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.

"We stand with Lauren James, Axel Tuanzebe and every victim of discrimination in all its forms. It's time for change."

Author: Jake Wilkin

Image by Frédéric Perez


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