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Marcus Rashford: Manchester United striker says online abuse should be easier to stop

Marcus Rashford feels social media companies have an easy job in policing online hate; Manchester United striker was one of several high-profile athletes subjected to online abuse in recent weeks; football's governing bodies have signed a letter to social media companies demanding action

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Marcus Rashford says it should be easy to end online abuse and make social media 'a place for good'

Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford says it should be easy to end online abuse and make social media "a place for good".

Rashford was subjected to racist abuse following Manchester United's 0-0 draw at Arsenal a fortnight ago, comments he described as "humanity and social media at its worst".

It came amid widespread racist abuse for several high-profile players in both the men's and women's game with Premier League referee Mike Dean also being subjected to death threats following a controversial decision over the weekend.

The Premier League, FA, EFL, WSL, Women's Championship, PFA, LMA, PGMOL and Kick It Out all co-signed an open letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook founder, chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, demanding immediate action over numerous incidents of abuse aimed at footballers and officials.

Facebook-owned Instagram announced new measures, including the removal of accounts to prevent abusive messages on its platform, while Twitter condemned the behaviour and vowed to work closely with the football community to tackle the unacceptable behaviour.

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Kick It Out chair Sanjay Bhandari says social media companies are in the best position to tackle online racism, but must have the determination to address the issue

Rashford feels deleting accounts should be a straightforward process and that social media can actually be a positive platform in terms of learning about other cultures.

"Online abuse - it should be easy to stop, just deactivate the accounts," he told Sky Sports News. "We know that it's very easy to make four or five accounts but if you have to block them all, then block them all.

"That's on the social media companies themselves. If they see anyone being abusive in any way, their account should be deleted immediately, that's how you'd deal with it.

"I feel like it doesn't affect me as much as other people because I'm not actively on social media so half the stuff that goes on on there, what people are saying about me and other people, I'm not really on top of and I don't see it.

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Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta reveals his family have received online abuse

"But it's a place people should enjoy. Ten or 15 years ago it wasn't there and we're lucky to have it, to be able to connect with people all over the world and from different cultures and religions. For it to be used in a negative light is stupid and hopefully they can sort out that issue and it can be a place of good."

Rashford's Old Trafford team-mate Axel Tuanzebe was racially abused last week, and the England striker confirmed he had spoken to the defender and had confidence in his ability to cope with that situation.

"I spoke to Axel when it happened to him and the way that you deal with it and the way that you move on, that's how you have to show strength and that you're mentally capable to deal with those things even though you shouldn't have to," Rashford said.

"Axel is a tough lad. It's not nice to hear those things but he's bounced back. He's always happy and smiling and works hard."

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Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel says he has taught himself to ignore online abuse in order to protect himself

Tuchel: I taught myself to ignore abuse

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel says he has trained himself to ignore anything said or written about him as a defence mechanism against the abuse circling around football.

"I would say I did not experience anything on social media, maybe also because I'm not a social media guy," said Tuchel.

"I have enough to do to control my smartphone and this is by far enough for me. I can go days without my smartphone and don't miss a thing.

"But in general I trained myself not to read about me, I trained myself, I had to learn and train myself not to read about me, not in good times and not in bad times."

Ancelotti: Enough is enough

Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti said he had not been subject to online abuse, but believes the issue must be addressed.

"When I started training, one of my old managers said to me 'remember football is one of the most important and least important things of your life'. Everyone has to understand this," said Ancelotti.

"We are really pleased to play and be part of this beautiful world, but to receive insults in and outside the stadium, I think it's not fair. It's not right and I'm pleased the Premier League is doing a strong decision about this, sending a letter to the social media companies, because enough is enough."

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This is the message from Sky Sports presenters and reporters, who have united in supporting a new campaign aimed at raising awareness of online hate and abuse on social media

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Kick It Out is football's equality and inclusion organisation - working throughout the football, educational and community sectors to challenge discrimination, encourage inclusive practices and campaign for positive change.

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