Twitter has said it will not end the practice of allowing people to post from anonymous accounts.
Arsenal chief executive Vinai Venkatesham on Thursday described the abuse of black players on various social media sites as the “biggest problem” in football, and said its impact “cannot be underestimated”.
Gunners winger Willian called for a change on Friday after sharing screenshots of abuse sent to him by two different Instagram users following Arsenal’s 1-1 Europa League draw against Benfica .
Arsenal’s Brazilian teammate Eddie Nketiah, Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Lauren James and Chelsea full-back Reece James – Lauren’s brother – are among other footballers who have recently suffered racist abuse on the media. social.
A number of abusive posts originate from accounts where an individual is hiding behind a pseudonym, and it has been mentioned repeatedly in football that social media companies should prevent anonymous users.
But in defense of its policies, Twitter said, “At Twitter, we are guided by our values, and never more than when it comes to fundamental issues like identity.
“We believe that everyone has the right to share their voice without needing government ID to do so.
“Pseudonymity has been a vital tool in expressing oneself in oppressive regimes, it is no less critical in democratic societies. Pseudonymity can be used to explore your identity, to find support as a victim of crime, or to highlight issues facing vulnerable communities.
“Indeed, many of the first voices to speak out on societal wrongdoing did so behind some degree of pseudonymity – once they do, their experience may encourage others to do the same, knowing that ‘they don’t have to put their name on their experience if they’re not comfortable doing it.
“Perhaps most basic of all – some of the communities that may not have access to government IDs are exactly the ones we are working to give a voice to on Twitter.”
Willian shared screenshots of abusive posts on his Instagram Story on Friday and added the caption: “Something has to change! The fight against racism continues.”
Twitter said there have been more than 11 million football tweets in the UK since September, of which more than 5,000 have been deleted for violating social media rules.
The US company has vowed to continue improving its own in-house technology, while working alongside the UK government and football authorities, including the anti-racist group Kick It Out.
In the statement, Twitter continued, “We are keenly aware that many high profile users can, at times, be particularly vulnerable to abuse and harassment.
“As long as someone is the target of abusive behavior on our service, our job will not be finished.
“We will continue to challenge this heinous behavior at the source with our football partners and other social media companies.
“We join with our partners in condemning racism and we will continue to play our part in combating this unacceptable behavior – both online and offline. We want to repeat it – there is no room for them. racist abuse on Twitter. “
“ Clubs have a duty of care to the players in the fight against racism ”
Brighton chief executive Paul Barber insists football clubs have a duty of care to their players in tackling discrimination, but believes social media companies need to do more to help this support being offered.
Social media companies have been under pressure to impose tougher penalties on accounts that break their rules, especially discrimination, and Barber has added his voice to this call for more help from these companies as his club makes its best to look after their employees.
“We are employers and we owe a duty of care to our staff, and those staff understand our players,” said Barber. Sky Sports. “Players shouldn’t have to worry about being discriminated against just because they are footballers.
“They have the same rights as every other employee in the country and they have the right to go out and do their jobs without suffering the kind of hatred that we have seen in recent weeks and months.
“Clubs can take their own action, but we need the help of social media companies to take responsibility for their own sites and what happens to them and when complaints are made to have various derogatory comments removed. , they are done as quickly as possible. “
Much of the abuse directed at footballers comes from platforms such as Twitter and Instagram, but Barber revealed that clubs’ social media channels and their own websites are also used by attackers.
“This week alone we have had hundreds of posts on our own channels which had to be deleted because they are discriminatory, abusive or in some way derogatory to individuals,” he added. “We have had to ban individuals from accessing these sites because they have persisted in the abuse they are trying to fight back.
“We now hope that people realize that this is unacceptable and that our zero tolerance approach will lead to sanctions in the stadium if we can then identify these people.”
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