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Wave of social media abuse forces FA to act but it could be too little too late

It’s a fact of life these days that social media trolls will get off on making life a misery for those whom they target across the various platforms.

In recent days we’ve seen referee, Mike Dean, ask to not be considered for Premier League duty because of death threats to members of his family and himself, and Newcastle United manager, Steve Bruce, also detail similar messages of hatred.

This comes on the back of the seemingly endless stream of racist abuse directed at black players.

With the likes of Instagram, Facebook and Twitter apparently unwilling to stem the flow of such disgusting bile, the Football Association, not before time, has decided they must act.

According to the Daily Mirror, the FA, along with the Premier League, Professional Footballers’ Association, the women’s game, League Managers’ Association, PGMOL and Kick It Out, have sent a letter to four major social media platforms but have addressed it specifically to Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg, the founders of Twitter and Facebook respectively.

The letter states that:

  • 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.

Whether the social media giants continue to pay lip service to the situation or actually do something about it remains to be seen.

At least football seems to be getting its act together in this regard, but is it too little, too late?

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