Premier League

Twitter taking the 'easy' option towards racist abuse, PFA says

The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) has criticised Twitter for failing to take a hard line against racist abuse on its platform

3:13pm on Thursday 5th August 2021
Robin Bairner

The Professional Footballers’ Association has criticised Twitter for failing to take responsibility for comments made over its social network.

The issue of abuse – and particular racial abuse – has been one that has often been raised in recent months, with players often voicing concern that they have been targeted for criticism via the network.

Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho were notably singled out for racist abuse following their missed penalties as England lost the final of Euro 2020 to Italy.

The PFA claims that Twitter is not doing enough to prevent such incidents occurring after research showed a 48% rise in racist abuse during the second half of last season.

In quotes given to the BBC, PFA chief executive Maheta Molango said: “Taking comments down is easy.

"It's not about taking down comments, it is about holding the people behind those accounts accountable. This report shows that, if we want, there are ways to actually identify people and hold them accountable." In a report carried out by Signify but commissioned by the PFA, it was discovered:

* 44% of Premier League players received discriminatory abuse

* 50% of these tweets came from UK accounts

* 20% of these tweets was directed at just four players

* 33% contained homophobic content

* Just 10 accounts of 359 that sent explicity racist abuse were deemed to have passed the criminal threshold, with 75% still active

Twitter responded that the report “does not fairly or fully capture our work or accurately reflect the steps we have taken to improve the health of the conversation and proactively enforce our rules".

"It is our top priority to keep everyone who uses Twitter safe and free from abuse," a Twitter spokesperson added.

"While we have made recent strides in giving people greater control to manage their safety, we know there is still work to be done.

"We have engaged and continue to collaborate with our valued partners in football, to identify ways to tackle this issue collectively.

"We want to reiterate that abusive and hateful conduct has no place on our service and we will continue to take swift action on the minority that try to undermine the conversation for the majority."

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