December 11, 2023

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PFA holds ‘supportive’ talks with social media firms over racist abuse of players

Jenas wants social media companies to do more to tackle racism

The Professional Footballers’ Association has had talks with social media companies after Premier League players were sent racist abuse.

Iffy Onuora, the players’ union’s coaching and equalities executive, said the talks with Instagram, Facebook and Twitter have been “broadly supportive”.

Sheffield United’s David McGoldrick and Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha were abused on social media at the weekend.

“There’s an awful lot of work that still needs to be done,” Onuora said.

On Sunday, a 12-year-old boy was arrested by police investigating racist messages sent to Zaha.

And Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder said he wants more done by “people in power” to tackle racist abuse on social media, with McGoldrick sent messages following his side’s win against Chelsea on Saturday.

Onuora said: “This is just a reminder that there’s an awful lot of work that still needs to be done educationally. It is a big challenge, regarding social media.

“If you compare other media: Print journalism has been around centuries – we have got to a stage where they are regulated. Social media is barely out of its teens. It’s a phenomenon relatively recently in history.

“We’re not looking to close down something that has been a force for good but with anything that has assumed the degree of power that it has now, there’s responsibility with that.

“That all comes with regulation. Unfortunately social media can’t be any different from other media and we need to look at how we do that.

“Colleagues of mine have had conversations with Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Those conversations have been broadly supportive of what we’re trying to say. But maybe there is still a slight difference over how we do it and who does the regulating.

“I’m sure, like most companies, they’d like to self-regulate but I think it’s gone beyond that, given the content is still there and accessible.”

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