Twitter has been up and doing in the last couple of days—suspending and banning accounts for racist abuses. In the UK especially, the social media giant has been called out a number of times for failing to take urgent actions to fight online racism against footballers. Popular soccer stars have been subject of racist abuse in the last few days; and Twitter just confirmed that over 5,000 tweets were removed for policy violation.
In a series of tweets on Friday, Twitter highlighted some of the measures being taken to arrest the situation. In one of the tweets, the microblogging platform said over 5,000 tweets have been removed among other measures taken.
“There have been over 11 million Tweets from people in the UK about football since the season started on the 12th September. In that time, we have removed over 5,000 Tweets in the UK that were targeting the football conversation with violations of the Twitter Rules – of which nearly 90% were removed proactively,” Twitter wrote in a blog post.
The truth is that there has been a rise in the number of racist attacks on the platform in the last couple of months. Most of these attacks have been targeted at popular footballers who play for popular English Premier League clubs like Manchester United and Arsenal. Players of these two clubs as well as others have been at the receiving end of racial attacks.
“Racist behaviour, abuse and harassment have absolutely no place on our service. At Twitter, protecting the health of the public conversation is essential to us, and this means making sure Twitter is a safe place to express yourself and follow the conversation about football, without fear of abuse or intimidation.”
A couple of days ago, Twitter announced that one of such accounts had been permanently suspended for racial abuse on an Arsenal player, Eddie Nketiah. 21 year old Nketiah became the latest high-profile soccer player in the English Premier League to be so abused on social media. The abuser was said to have sent him a message in response to a post the Arsenal player posted on Twitter ahead of the club’s Europa League tie against Portuguese club Benfica with the caption “Working with a smile.”
Twitter said the over 5,000 tweets removed “represents approximately 0.05% of the overall football conversation on Twitter in the UK. They do not reflect the vast majority of fans and players and everyone involved in the game who engage in positive and powerful discussions about football on Twitter every day.”