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Why is it that when something goes wrong, some people’s instant reactions are to be abusive and offensive? This is something we saw back in the summer when three black players missed a penalty in a shootout in the Euro 2020 Final vs Italy. 
Ordinarily, that should have just read “three players missed a penalty” but the very fact that the three young players were not white, they received abhorrent abuse via social media, with a lot of it commenting on the colour of their skin. Facebook responded with “no one should have to experience racist abuse anywhere and we don’t tolerate it on Facebook and Instagram.” Whilst Twitter said, “in the hours following the Euro 2020 final, we swiftly removed more than 1000 tweets and permanently suspended a number of accounts for violating our rules.” Despite a clear admission that racist comments were present on their platforms, there is still, at the time of writing, no technology in place to automatically detect this abuse. There is, however, the technology to detect anything written on these same platforms about COVID-19. It’s almost as if they care more about potential misinformation than actual abuse. 
Ex-Tottenham and England player, Jermaine Jenas, is heading up a new Channel 4 documentary, Hunting the Football Trolls, which takes a closer look on how abuse on social media is policed. In it, he discovered that Twitter only took down 2 of 19 offensive tweets and Instagram took down 3 of 84 offensive comments post-Euros. So, despite these platforms saying they’re removing abuse, there’s still a lot more that they could be doing. He also found that Raheem Sterling, despite scoring just one less goal, received 78% more online abuse than Harry Kane, with 54 – 58% of it being racist. 
Current advice tells people to block and mute accounts that they see being abusive but why should those receiving abuse be told to simply stop looking at it instead of the platforms targeting the abusers? The above stats show that reporting might not do much either but it is currently the only thing we can do to highlight abuse. 
 
As you all know, social media is our everything and without it, we wouldn’t be where we are today, both as a business and as people. Please help us it making these platforms safe and welcoming for all to use again by following these three simple steps. 
 
Stay Positive – keep your comments positive and supportive and as our mums used to say, “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all!” 
Report – although it’s not perfect, reporting is our only weapon against abuse… for now 
Call for Change – sign petitions calling for better policing, share posts of experiences, advice and tips, and raise awareness of how these platforms should support victims abused under their watch 
 
We want everyone to feel safe online again. 
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