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Social networks struggle to stop racist abuse after England’s Euro Cup final lost

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Social networks struggle to stop racist abuse after England’s Euro Cup final lost

Bukayo Saka of England is consoled by head coach Gareth Southgate.

Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images

Sunday evening marked a moment of national heartbreak among the British football fans as the country team approached victory first greater international tournament in over half a century, before losing on a penalty shooting in Italy. is also marked another bad accident of racism on social media, with some fans have thrown all their anger and frustration on the three players who they had lost theirs penalty kicks — all of who happened to be black.

While the national team is manager Gareth Southgate made is clear that the loss was something whole team he was putting his back together, some disgruntled supporters are gone on Twitter and Instagram e in particularly they targeted Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka.

The vitriol presented a direct challenge to the social networks – an event-specific spike in hate speech that required them to focus their restraint efforts to contain the damage. marks just the latest accident for the social networks, which need to be on guard during high political or cultural office events. While these companies have a regular process that includes distribution machine-automatic tools and human moderators to remove the content, This latest the accident is just another source of frustration for those who believe it social networks are not fast enough to respond.

To bridge the gap, companies rely on on users to report content which violates the guidelines. After Sunday match, many users shared tips and guides on how for best relationship content, both to the platforms and to the police. It was disheartening for those same users to be told that the moderation of a company technology I did not have found nothing wrong with the racist abuse they highlighted.

is also left many users wonder why, when Facebook, for example, he is a billion dollar company, he was unprepared and ill-equipped to deal with the influx can be easily anticipated of racist content – instead leaving it unpaid good Samaritan users to report.

No gray areas when it comes to racism

For social media companies, moderation can turn gray area between the protection of free speech and the protection of users from hate speech. In these cases, they have to judge whether the user content violates the policies of its platform. But this was not one of those gray areas.

Racist abuse is classified as hate crime in the UK, and the London Met Police said in a declaration who will investigate incidents that have occurred online following the match. In a follow-up e-mail, a spokesperson for the Met said the instances of the abuses were evaluated by the Ministry of the Interior and then passed on to local police forces to deal with with.

Twitter “quickly” removed over 1,000 tweets through a combination of machine based on automation and on the human being reviewa spokesperson said in a declaration. In addition, it has permanently suspended “a number” of you count, “the vast majority” of which he detected in proactively himself. “The horrendous racist abuse directed against England players last the night has absolutely not place on Twitter, “the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, there was frustration among Instagram users who identified and reported, among other things, abusive content, strings of monkey emoji (a common too racist) to be posted on The bills of Black players.

According to Instagram policies, using emoji for attack people based on protected features, including race, is against the company’s hate speech policies. Human moderators at work for the company takes context into account during the review use of emoji.

But in lot of of the cases reported by Instagram users in which platform failed to remove the monkey emojis, it appears the reviews weren’t conducted by human reviewers. Instead, their relationships were dealt with with from the automated company software, who told them “ours technology has found that this comment probably doesn’t work against our community guidelines.”

A spokesperson for Instagram said in a statement that “no one should must experience racist abuse everywhere, and we don’t want is on Instagram. ”

“We soon removed comments and accounts addressing abuses to English footballers last night and we will continue to act against those who break ours rules,” she added. “In addition to ours work to remove this content, we encourage everyone players turn on Hidden words, a tool that means no one must see the abuse in their comments or DMs. No one thing fix This challenge overnight, but we are committed to keeping ours community safe from abuse “.

The racism of football problem meets techla restraint of problem

The social media companies shouldn’t have been surprised by the reaction.

The football professionals felt the tension of the racist abuses they suffer online — and not just following this one England game. In April, the English Football Association organized as social media boycott “in response to continuous and sustained discriminatory abuse received online of players and many others related to football. “

English football racism problem it is not new. In 1993, the problem forced the Football Association, the Premier League and the Association of Professional Footballers to launch Kick It Out, a program for fight racism, which has become a real organization in 1997. Under the leadership of Southgate, the current iteration of the English team has embraced anti-racism more vocally than ever, taking the knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement first matches. Still, racism in sport prevails – online is off.

On Monday, the Football Association strongly condemned the online abuse after Sunday Sunday match, saying he is “upset” by the racism targeted at players. “We couldn’t be clearer about this anyone behind such disgusting behavior is not welcome in following the team”he said.” We will do everything we can to support the players hit as they urge the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible. “

Social media users, politicians and rights organizations require Internet specifications tools face up to online abuse – as well as for authors of racist abuse to be prosecuted as if they were offline. As a part of his “No yellow cards” campaign, the center for Countering digital hatred is calling for platforms to ban users who spitting out racist abuse for life.

In the UK, the government tried to introduce regulation that force tech companies to act in more decisive way against harmful content, including racist abuse, in the module of the safety bill online. But has also been criticized for moving too slowly to get legislation in place.

Tony Burnett, the CEO of the Kick It Out campaign (that Facebook and Twitter both publicly support), She said in a statement Monday that is social media companies and the government need for step up for shut down racist abuse online. His words were taken up by Julian Knight, member of Parliament and president of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Commission.

“The government needs to get on with legislate on tech giants, “Knight She said in a declaration. “Quite of the foot that drags, all of them who suffer by the hand of racists, no just England players, they deserve better protection now. “

As pressure mounted for them to act, social networks have also took a step up their own moderation efforts e building new tools – with varying degrees of success. Companies track and measure theirs progress. Facebook employs its own independent oversight board to evaluate his performance.

But critics of the social networks also point out that the way their business models we are set up it gives them very little incentive to discourage racism. Any involvement will increase ad revenue, they argue, though tale involvement is people I like and comment on post racists.

“Facebook made content moderation lasts by making and ignoring their turbid rules, and amplifying harassment and hatred to fuel its supplies price, ” former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao said on Twitter on Monday. “Negative PR is forcing them to face the racism that has been on its platform since start. I hope they really do fix it.”


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