English Soccer Asks Facebook, Twitter to Tackle Racist Posts

England’s Football Association has written to the heads of Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. demanding they control abusive language on their platforms.

The Premier League, soccer’s wealthiest competition, and the English Football League also signed Thursday’s letter to Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey. The groups asked the social media giants to take steps including filtering posts for racist or discriminatory language and creating a system to identify users.

“The targets of abuse should be offered basic protections,” they wrote. “We ask that you accept responsibility for preventing abuse from appearing on your platforms and go further than you have promised to do to date.”

Facebook and Twitter have rules that ban certain content, such as threats of violence, hate speech and false information on voting procedures. In the U.S., the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Anti-Defamation League and Color of Change, a racial justice advocacy group, organized an advertiser boycott of Facebook over the proliferation of hate speech on the platform.

Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, said Wednesday it would remove the accounts of people who send abusive Direct Messages.

“We don’t want hate and racism on our platforms and remove it when we find it,” a Facebook spokesman said. “The new measures we announced yesterday, which include tougher action when we become aware of people breaking our rules in DMs, further build on the work we do to tackle this.”

Both Facebook and Twitter highlighted their work with Kick It Out, English football’s organization to promote equality and inclusion.

“There is no room for racist abuse on Twitter,” a spokesman for the platform said. “We will continue to take swift action on the minority that try to undermine the conversation for the majority.”

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