LONDON — Social media platform Twitter removed over 1,000 tweets and permanently suspended several accounts after online racial abuse directed at three black footballers following the country’s loss to Italy in the Euro 2020 final.
Italy ended England’s dream to win the Euro 2020 at the iconic Wembley Stadium in London on July 11.
Italy defeated England 3-2 on penalties after the 90-minute action had finished at 1-1, and even extra time was not able to break the deadlock.
Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka missed the chance to net goals in the penalty shootouts and were then abused on social media.
“The abhorrent racist abuse directed at England players last night has absolutely no place on Twitter,” a Twitter spokesperson said.
“In the past 24 hours, through a combination of machine learning-based automation and human review, we have swiftly removed over 1,000 Tweets and permanently suspended many accounts for violating our rules — the vast majority of which we detected ourselves proactively using technology. We will continue to take action when we identify any Tweets or accounts that violate our policies.”
“We have proactively engaged and continue to collaborate with our partners across the football community to identify ways to tackle this issue collectively and will continue to play our part in curbing this unacceptable behavior — both online and offline,” the spokesperson added.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also condemned the “appalling” racial abuse of players on social media following the Three Lions’ loss in the Euro Cup final against Italy.
The British Prime Minister said England players deserve to be lauded for their heroics and shouldn’t be racially abused on social media.
“This England team deserves to be lauded as heroes, not racially abused on social media. Those responsible for this appalling abuse should be ashamed of themselves,” Johnson tweeted.
England’s Football Association also condemned the racist abuse of players.
“The FA strongly condemns all forms of discrimination and is appalled by the online racism that has been aimed at some of our England players on social media,” The Football Association said in a statement.
“We could not be clearer that anyone behind such disgusting behavior is not welcome in following the team. We will do all we can to support the players affected while urging the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible.”
The Football Association also asked social media firms to take accountability in banning users who indulge in such rhetoric.
It asked companies to “gather evidence that can lead to prosecution and support making the platform free from this kind of abuse.”
The English football team had taken a knee before every game at the tournament as a symbol of protest against systemic racial inequality, a move that caused some division, with players being booed for the gesture.
(With inputs from ANI)
(Edited by Abinaya Vijayaraghavan and Krishna Kakani)
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