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10th Aug 2021

Vast majority of racist Euros final tweets came from UK, analysis reveals

Kieran Galpin

Twitter says they are launching a new ‘autoblock’ feature

Following England’s disappointing defeat to Italy at the Euro 2020 finals, numerous black players were targeted with abhorrent racist abuse. Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho, and Marcus Rashford seemed to be the centre point for the racist abuse after the trio missed their penalties during the final. Now, a month later, Twitter UK has released its findings after a thorough investigation into the racist content prolific on their platform.

Last week, it was revealed eleven arrests had been made by the Metropolitan police in relation to online racist abuse. “There are people out there who believe they can hide behind a social media profile and get away with posting such abhorrent comments,” said Chief Constable Mark Roberts.

“They need to think again – we have investigators proactively seeking out abusive comments in connection to the match and, if they meet a criminal threshold, those posting them will be arrested.

“Our investigation is continuing at pace and we are grateful for those who have taken time to report racist posts to us.”

But as private independent bodies, Social Media platforms are also under pressure to address the rampant discrimination on their platforms. Twitter has just concluded their investigation into the wave of online harassment, here’s what they found:

Twitter reports that their automated tools kicked in during the Euros final, where they were able to identify and remove 1622 abusive Tweets in the 24 hours that followed. They also state that only 2 per cent of those tweets made impressions greater than one thousand.

“While many have quite rightly highlighted the global nature of the conversation, it is also important to acknowledge the UK was – by far – the largest country of origin for the abusive Tweets we removed,” they tweeted.

Twitter continues to say that ID verification would have been unlikely to prevent the abuse, as 99 per cent of the users were unidentifiable. “Since our update in February, we’ve improved our proactive tools to identify racist abuse and removed just under 13,000 Tweets – of which 95 per cent were identified proactively,” they said.

Concerningly, and touching on the idea of censorship and what these private companies deem as ‘harmful’ the social media platform said: “Soon, we will be testing a new product feature that temporarily autoblocks accounts using harmful language.”

“There is no place for racist abuse on Twitter. Our aim is always that Twitter be used as a vehicle for every person to communicate safely. We’re determined to do all we can, along with our partners, to stop these abhorrent views and behaviours being seen on and off the platform,” they conclude.

Related Links:

11 arrests made in investigation of racist abuse towards England players
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Bukayo Saka receives huge support from Tottenham fans in pre-season friendly