England footballers' social media racist abuse

Occurred: July 2021

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Instagam, Twitter and other social media platforms failed to stop a torrent of racial abuse hurled at black England footballers after the national team was knocked out of the Euro 2020 tournament. 

The abuse aimed at Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, all of whom missed penalties in England's Euro 2020 final loss to Italy, was condemned by Prime minister Boris Johnson, the Football Association, amongst others. 

Twitter said it had removed over 1,000 posts over 24 hours and suspended a number of accounts for violating its rules. Instagram blamed its 'mistaken' content moderation technology for failing to remove thousands of racist comments and images. 

Instagram is owned by Meta. 

Operator: Meta/Facebook; Twitter
Developer: Meta/Facebook; Twitter
Country: UK
Sector: Media/entertainment/sports/arts
Purpose: Detect toxic content
Technology: Content moderation
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Bias/discrimination - race
Transparency: Governance; Black box

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: December 2021