Jermaine Jenas calls for laws to force social media companies to fight racism | Online abuse
Jermaine Jenas, the former England footballer turned TV presenter, has urged the government to sanction social media companies that fail to root out racism and abuse on their platforms.
For months, Jenas monitors the increase in online abuse against black footballers and assesses whether social media companies have kept their promises to do more following the abuse suffered by Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho after the final. of Euro 2020 this summer.
In a Channel 4 documentary Hunting the Football Trolls, Jenas says there has been no improvement in policing and banning racists, and accuses social media companies of being the biggest trolls of all. .
“What Have Social Media Companies Done? Jenas, who has played for Premier League sides including Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur, told The Guardian. “They didn’t do anything. The government must take control of the issue. These businesses operate as they wish. But if laws are in place, they will have to work within those laws. “
Channel 4 ordered the data company to analyze over 6 million posts during the 2020-21 season, including Euro 2020. He saw a 48% increase in unmoderated racist abuse in the second half of the season, with a peak in May 2021, with 50% of abusive tweets coming from UK accounts.
He also revealed that Raheem Sterling suffered more than twice as much abuse as Harry Kane during the Euro, of which 54% were racist. The Guardian’s analysis reported similar results during Euro 2020 – 2,000 abusive tweets were directed and named the England squad, including the N-word and monkey emojis.
Jenas said he found a serious disconnect between what police and social media companies saw as abusive. “The police are working hard to get as much information as possible. The British Football Police Unit, a specialized department, actively tracks things that are online. But in general the police are quite helpless, which I found scary.
The film explains that police can ask social media companies for information about who created an abusive account, what IP addresses are coming from and what devices were used. But a site like Twitter can sometimes take up to six months to respond and can determine that the post was not abusive.
In the UK, the Online Injury Bill sets out a duty of care for social media companies to protect users from harmful content. The bill proposes fines of up to 10% of a company’s annual turnover, which would amount to around £ 6 billion for a company the size of Facebook.
“Nobody knows what is going on behind closed doors,” Jenas told The Guardian. “All footballers seem to be rich and live great lives, but players experience an obscene amount of racism and abuse online.
“Social media companies have had more than enough time to adjust and adapt, but all they’ve done is ask us to change. They will send us a new update: turn off these settings, turn off these settings, turn off your comments. But why do I have to do all this when they should be watching him? If people shout insults at you in the street, they will be arrested, so why are they allowed to do so on these platforms? “
A spokesperson for the Facebook company said, “No one should have to face racist abuse anywhere, and we don’t condone it on Facebook and Instagram. We remove racist content as soon as we see it and respond to valid legal requests for assistance with law enforcement investigations.
“We also created the Hidden Words tool to prevent people from seeing this abuse in their comments and in private messages… People can also limit comments and requests for private messages during peaks of increased attention. Nothing will solve this challenge overnight, but we are committed to continuing our work with the Premier League and others to help protect our community from abuse. “