Leagues Ask Zuckerberg, Dorsey for 'Human Decency'

English soccer officials cite inaction over racist abuse of players, coaches and referees
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 12, 2021 5:06 PM CST
English Leagues Ask Online Giants for 'Human Decency'
Newcastle United's Callum Wilson wears a "No room for racism" badge on his shirt during an English Premier League soccer match in September.   (Alex Pantling /Pool via AP, File)

The leaders of English soccer have asked the heads of Facebook and Twitter to show "basic human decency" by taking more robust action to eradicate racism and for users' identities to be verified. There has been growing outrage that players in leagues including the Premier League and the Women's Super League have been targeted with abuse on Twitter and Facebook-owned Instagram, the AP reports. "The language used is debasing, often threatening and illegal," the eight English soccer leaders, including from the Football Association and Premier League, wrote Thursday to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook Chairman Mark Zuckerberg. "It causes distress to the recipients and the vast majority of people who abhor racism, sexism and discrimination of any kind. We have had many meetings with your executives over the years but the reality is your platforms remain havens for abuse. Your inaction has created the belief in the minds of the anonymous perpetrators that they are beyond reach."

On Friday, Facebook said it will not ban the Instagram user who racially abused Swansea player Yan Dhanda. The account will stay active as long as the abuse does not persist for an unspecified number of times, per the AP. The only penalty, Facebook said, is that "the person who sent this message has been restricted from sending messages for a set period of time." Police in south Wales are investigating the case. "We write to ask that for reasons of basic human decency you use the power of your global systems to bring this to an end," the letter to Dorsey and Zuckerberg said. English soccer has dealt with new threats of violence this week. Newcastle's manager said people on social media have wished him dead. "When I see the nature of some of it, it's totally and utterly vile," he said, adding, "you feel the hatred." Also, a Premier League referee contacted police after death threats were posted on his family's social media accounts.

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