Otago Daily Times

Instagram to tackle racial abuse of football players


LONDON: The UK government has welcomed new measures introduced by Instagram to tackle online abuse in the wake of racist messages aimed at football players, but called for more action to be taken to stamp out the problem.

A host of players, including Manchester United trio Axel Tuanzebe, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, Chelsea’s Reece James, West Bromwich Albion’s Romaine Sawyers and Southampto­n’s Alex Jankewitz have been victims of online abuse in recent weeks.

The Football Associatio­n (FA) this week urged the government and social media companies to act quickly in the fight against online racist abuse.

Instagram announced a series of measures to tackle online abuse yesterday, including removing accounts of people who send abusive messages, and developing new controls to help reduce the abuse people see.

‘‘For too long the world’s most popular and powerful social media companies have failed to tackle the stream of horrific racist attacks on their platforms,’’ Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) secretary Oliver Dowden said.

‘‘I welcome Instagram’s improved policies but racist abuse is still a fact of life for too many people and more has to be done across the board to stamp it out.’’

Dowden said a new Online Safety Bill was being prepared to hold social media companies accountabl­e, and firms could face huge fines if they fail to protect users.

Instagram said it remained committed in the fight against racism. — Reuters

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