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Ofcom Chief Said Facebook Instagram And Twittermust Do Better To Combat Racial Harassment

The head of the UK’s communications regulator will declare today that social media companies’must do better’ in combating online harassment and bigotry.
Melanie Dawes, Ofcom’s chief executive, will criticize Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for their failure to combat racism, saying that ‘they simply must do far better.’ It comes after England footballers Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka were treated to a barrage of racist abuse online after missing penalties in the Euro 2020 final last month.
Ms Dawes will urge social media companies to be upfront about the protections they have in place to prevent racist attacks online in her keynote speech at the Oxford Media Conference.
Melanie Dawes (pictured), the chief executive of Ofcom, will criticise Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for their failure to combat racism and urge them they’must do better.’ Her address comes after England footballers Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka were subjected to racist abuse online following their country’s Euro 2020 final.
‘They must be considerably more honest about the regulations they have in place to deal with it, and we will act to ensure that those rules are effectively implemented,’ she will say, adding that social media companies have “failed to do more to remove these horrific comments” received by football players.
‘Racism has no place in our society, whether it occurs online or offline, and the platforms, by their own admission, failed to do enough to delete these heinous comments at a key national moment.’
They must simply do far better in the future,’ she will add.
It comes after Boris Johnson, in a speech in Downing Street, called on digital companies to ‘raise their game’ in response to racial taunting of Three Lions players and cautioned them to act before rules that might result in massive fines are introduced.
Mr Johnson’s spokesperson said ahead of the meeting: ‘We believe that, given the size and prevalence of racial abuse, social media firms need to step up their game to prevent online abuse today.’
‘We expect social media corporations to do everything possible to track down these individuals.’
The police already have a number of authorities to identify and prosecute people who use anonymity to preach hatred, but we’ve committed to enhancing the criminal legislation in this area.’
Internet companies will be subject to a ‘duty of care,’ and failure to clean up their sites may result in fines of up to 10% of their annual global turnover, according to the draft plans.
The regulator, Ofcom, would be in control of social media companies, with the authority to levy fines of up to PS18 million and suspend access for repeat offenders.
Racist abuse was directed at Three Lions stars Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and teenager Bukayo Saka on social media this month after they missed penalties in England’s Euro 2020 final loss to Italy.
Following a barrage of hateful words directed towards England players, Twitter announced it had blocked over 1,000 postings. Facebook, which owns Instagram, called the online attacks “abhorrent” and said its staff was trying to remove the comments.
The online attacks were condemned as “abhorrent” by Facebook, which owns Instagram, and the company said its team was trying to remove the remarks.
(Stock photo) Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden (pictured) called on social media companies to ‘raise their game’ in terms of dealing with abuse. At the time, a Twitter representative said: ‘The appalling racial abuse directed towards England players last night has absolutely no place on Twitter.’
‘We have rapidly removed over 1,000 Tweets and permanently suspended a handful of accounts for breaching our rules in the last 24 hours, using a combination of machine learning-based automation and human review – the vast majority of which we spotted ourselves proactively using technology.’
‘When we find any Tweets or accounts that violate our regulations, we will continue to take action.’
‘We have aggressively engaged and continue to interact with our partners throughout the football community to seek methods to collectively tackle this issue, and we will continue to play our part in limiting this unacceptable behavior – both online and offline,’ Facebook added.
‘Last night, we immediately removed comments and accounts aimed at England’s footballers, and we’ll continue to take action against individuals who break our rules,’ the company said.
‘In addition to our efforts to remove harmful content, we advise all players to enable Hidden Words, a feature that ensures no one sees abuse in their comments or direct messages.’
‘The Government needs to get on with legislating the internet giants,’ said Julian Knight, chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee. ‘Nothing can solve this challenge overnight, but we’re committed to keeping our community safe from abuse.’ Police are currently investigating the abuse, but social media businesses have come under increasing pressure to take swifter and more decisive action.
‘The racial abuse of England players online is disgusting and vile,’ said Julian Knight, head of the Internet, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.
‘Perpetrators should get a knock on the door from the cops and face the full force of the law,’ says the author.
‘Whenever social media firms are notified of the abuse, they have an instant responsibility to remove it.’
‘The government needs to get cracking on regulating the tech behemoths.’
‘Enough with the dithering; all people who suffer at the hands of bigots, not just England players, deserve better protections immediately,’ Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said. ‘Social media firms need to up their game in addressing it, and if they don’t, our new Online Safety Bill will hold them to account with fines of up to 10% of global turnover.’

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