Twitter reveals extent of racist abuse sent after Euro 2020 final and vows to do better

The social media platform said it removed more than 1,900 tweets, most of which were sent in the UK

Twitter has revealed the full scale of racist abuse directed at England footballers after the Euro 2020 final.

The social media platform launched an investigation after July’s final, and has revealed the first findings in a detailed report, published in a blog post on Tuesday.

Twitter removed more than 1,900 abusive Tweets in the wake of England’s loss to Italy. More than 1,600 of those were removed during the final and in the 24 hours afterwards.

Much of the abuse was directed at black England players Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, who missed penalties in the tense final at Wembley Stadium.

Twitter said that despite claims the abuse was coming from all over the world, the vast majority was sent by users in the UK.

“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,” Twitter said in the post.

It also said it did not believe a “real name policy” – widely touted as a solution to stop online abuse – would combat the problem, as the majority of accounts banned in the wake of the investigation were already identifiable. It concluded that “ID verification would have been unlikely to prevent the abuse from happening”.

However, Twitter did outline steps it would be taking to help prevent racial abuse from spreading on its platform in the future, including the launch of an “autoblock” tool that will hide messages and temporarily block accounts using harmful language.

“Our aim is always that Twitter be used as a vehicle for every person to communicate safely – be it in highlighting injustice or giving a voice to those communities who have been historically under-represented,” Twitter UK said.

“There is no place for racist abuse on Twitter and we are determined to do all we can to stop these abhorrent views and behaviours from being seen on our platform.

“We can do better. We fully acknowledge our responsibility to ensure the service is safe – not just for the football community, but for all users.

“However, we also have to be honest that the progress we will be able to make alone would be magnified by greater interventions across the board.

“As long as racism exists offline, we will continue to see people try and bring these views online – it is a scourge technology cannot solve alone.

“Everyone has a role to play – including the government and the football authorities – and we will continue to call for a collective approach to combat this deep societal issue.”

Police in the UK investigating the online racist abuse aimed at players have made 11 arrests so far.

Updated: August 11th 2021, 12:10 PM
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