Today, I am joining with football clubs, websites, journalists and more to put pressure on the social media companies. In recent weeks, more and more players are being subjected to online abuse and racism, and we at Vital Walsall have a message for those who discriminate and are behind this type of abuse, We will not stand for it.
Each day, it seems that more clubs are releasing statements saying that their players have been victims of online abuse. High profile players such as Reece James, Marcus Rashford and Romaine Sawyers, have all been targeted during recent games, as well as younger players, like Alex Jankewitz, Axel Tuanzebe and Yan Dhanda. These are just some of the names, and the list of players being abused, is growing.
There is growing pressure for social media companies to do more, to make those hiding behind a keyboard, accountable and more likely to get caught. It is even getting to the point where fan led accounts are having to shut down, or mute comments, as they are getting the abuse too. It is saddening to hear.
Today, the EFL released an open letter, to put pressure on Facebook and Twitter. In the statement, they outline what they would like to happen:
- Messages and posts should be filtered and blocked before being sent or posted if they contain racist or discriminatory material
- You should operate robust, transparent, and swift measures to take down abusive material if it does get into circulation
- All users should be subject to an improved verification process that (only if required by law enforcement) allows for accurate identification of the person behind the account. Steps should also be taken to stop a user that has sent abuse previously from re-registering an account
- Your platforms should actively and expeditiously assist the investigating authorities in identifying the originators of illegal discriminatory material
I would encourage fans who see any types of discrimination online, to report it. In the case of ex-Saddler Romaine Sawyers, an arrest has been made, and the more fans that get behind it, and try to put an end to this abuse, the quicker it could happen.