Football authorities demand Facebook and Twitter act on abuse in strongly worded letter 5 months ago

Football authorities demand Facebook and Twitter act on abuse in strongly worded letter

"Your inaction has created the belief in the minds of the anonymous perpetrators that they are beyond reach."

Leaders of English football's most prominent organisations have joined forces in demanding that social media platforms take immediate action against online abuse.

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A letter addressed to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook, has been signed by leading figures from the FA, Premier League, EFL, Women's Super League, Women's Championship, PFA, LMA, PGMOL and Kick It Out.

Referencing several high-profile recent incidents of abuse directed at players and officials, the letter urges the pair to use their power to address the issue once and for all.

"The language used is debasing, often threatening and illegal," the letter says. "It causes distress to recipients and the vast majority of people who abhor racism, sexism and discrimination of any kind."

Adding that, after holding meetings with executives from both platforms in recent years, the situation has yet to change, the letter adds: "Your inaction has created the belief in the minds of the anonymous perpetrators that they are beyond reach."

The letter goes on to ask that targets for abuse are offered basic protection while using the platforms. It also asks that messages and posts containing racist or discriminatory material are filtered or blocked before being sent or published and that any abusive material is taken down swiftly if it does enter circulation.

It also calls for an improved verification system that - only if required by law enforcement - would allow those posting abusive material to be accurately identified, with assistance offered by the platform in this process where necessary.

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Signing off, the letter says that it notes that Facebook has offered assurances that standards will be tightened, but stresses that this alone will not be enough.

"We call for meetings with your organisations to discuss the evidence of abuse on your platforms, the action you are taking, and how you plan to address the matters outlined in this letter," it ends.

 

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