Ofcom chief slams social media giants over Euro 2020 racist messages | Ofcom
The head of the UK’s communications regulator will swear to accept social media firms this week for their failure to root out online abuse as she condemns their lack of success in dealing with racism against three English footballers.
The abuse against Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka after missing penalties in the UK Euro 2020 final defeat has resulted in great support for the trio. However, they have also been attacked by a torrent of racist news and tropes that have ravaged their social media accounts.
In her first post on the episode, Melanie Dawes, CEO of Ofcom, will make it clear that she will be using new powers that will be conferred on the panel to force social media companies to act faster. In a keynote on Monday she will find out that the need for regulation of the social media giants has “moved even more into focus”.
“Some of our incredible English football teams have been racially insulted on the major social media platforms,” she will say. “There is no place for racism in our society, online or offline, and the platforms say they haven’t done enough to remove these appalling comments at a critical national moment. You just have to do a lot better in the future.
“If Ofcom has the power to regulate online security, we will hold social media platforms accountable for such abuse. You need to be much more transparent about the rules that apply and we will act to ensure that those rules are properly enforced. “
With the fundamental changes in the powers to regulate social media companies, Ofcom is expected to be able to impose fines for inaction under the reforms contained in an upcoming online security law. However, celebrities who have suffered abuse online insist that the legislation does not go far enough.
Dawes warns of a clear distrust of social media companies, adding that “there is no transparency or consistency about the rules and algorithms – how to promote freedom of expression while addressing and preventing harmful and abusive content to go viral ”. She adds, “By bringing accountability and transparency to this area for the first time, we can protect these great advances while building safer online lives for everyone.”
It comes after Adam Mosseri, the CEO of Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, admitted last week that the company’s technology made mistakes that allowed some abusive messages to be posted. Thousands of separate messages are said to have been received by the players after the defeat last Sunday. The news included monkey and banana emojis posted days after the game.
Mosseri said his moderation technology temporarily “mistakenly flagged some of them as harmless comments, which they absolutely are not”. He added, “It’s absolutely not okay to send racist emojis or any kind of hate speech on Instagram.”
Facebook announced that it has been working with the UK police to provide details on the users who sent abuse. Saka said he knew he would receive racist messages after missing the sentence. “To the social media platforms Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: I don’t want children or adults to receive the hateful and hurtful messages that I, Marcus and Jadon received,” he wrote this week. “I knew right away what kind of hatred I was going to get, and it’s a sad reality that your powerful platforms aren’t doing enough to stop this [hate] News, ”he said.