Instagram has now announced the rollout of a new tool it hopes will combat online abuse; working with anti-discrimination charities, the online platform has developed a predefined list of offensive terms and emojis
Wednesday 21 April 2021 08:12, UK
Instagram says it empathises with footballers and clubs taking part in social media boycotts, in order to make a stand against racial abuse online.
In recent weeks a number of players, including former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry have quit online platforms over a lack of action from technology companies. So too have clubs like Swansea City, Birmingham City and Rangers.
In response, Instagram's policy manager, Fadzai Madzingira told Sky Sports News: "I empathise with a lot of the frustrations. I think the interesting thing with the boycotts is that in the past often boycotts are because people disagree. In this case, we are on the same side.
"We want to work towards having a platform that doesn't have this sort of abuse on it. People shouldn't have to deal with this sort of abuse.
"We welcome conversations on how we can continue to improve our product and how we can work on tools to make people safe.
"The whole point of social media is making sure people do have a voice to make a stand. From our side, we recognise this is part of a wider conversation to raise awareness."
Instagram has now announced the rollout of a new tool that it hopes will combat online abuse. Working with anti-discrimination charities, the online platform has developed a predefined list of offensive terms and emojis.
If a direct message contains harmful content it will be filtered, so that a user does not have to view it. The feature, which needs to be activated, will be rolled out in a variety of countries in the coming weeks.
Swansea's Yan Dhanda and Jamal Lowe, Aston Villa defender Tyrone Mings and Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling have all been subjected racist abuse on social media.
While online platforms like Instagram have held conversations with football clubs and players in recent months, there has been widespread criticism of the way online abuse has been handled.
One of the main concerns is abusers often only have their accounts deactivated for a period of time. A permanent ban only applies if an offender repeatedly breaks the rules. Lots of people, therefore, believe users should have to provide identification so that they can be traced by the authorities, if necessary.
However, while Instagram insists it is a topic that has and continues to be debated, there are other factors to consider, such as inclusivity and data collection.
Ms Madzingira said: "The whole point of Facebook and Instagram is to make sure we are connecting people. If we live in a world where the very people we are trying to give a voice to don't have access to it, I think that raises really interesting societal questions as to whether we think that is acceptable, especially in a world that is post BLM protests in 2020 and with conversations around race in the UK today.
"For us, we feel very strongly about the importance of ensuring people have access to the platform and are able to connect. That is something that we have tried to find the right balance with.
"That said, it doesn't mean we don't take seriously being able to go after individuals that are repeatedly abusing our community standards on the platform.
"This sort of abuse is exhausting. It is emotionally and mentally exhausting and that is something we take very seriously and is something we took into account as feedback when we created this tool".
Sky Sports is committed to making skysports.com and our channels on social media platforms a place for comment and debate that is free of abuse, hate and profanity.
For more information, please visit: www.skysports.com/hatewontstopus
If you see a reply to Sky Sports posts and/or content with an expression of hate on the basis of race, colour, gender, nationality, ethnicity, disability, religion, sexuality, age or class please copy the URL to the hateful post or screengrab it and email us here.
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.