Marcus Rashford has described racist abuse he received following Manchester United's 0-0 draw against Arsenal as "humanity and social media at its worst".
Rashford took to his Twitter account after Saturday's draw at the Emirates to call out the abuse but refused to take screenshots of the messages as "it would be irresponsible to do so".
He said: "Humanity and social media at its worst. Yes I'm a black man and I live every day proud that I am. No one, or no one comment, is going to make me feel any different. So sorry if you were looking for a strong reaction, you're just simply not going to get it here.
"I'm not sharing screenshots. It would be irresponsible to do so and as you can imagine there's nothing original in them. I have beautiful children of all colours following me and they don't need to read it. Beautiful colours that should only be celebrated."
A company spokesperson for Facebook, which owns Instagram, said: "There is no place for racism on Instagram and we are committed to removing it when we find it. We have taken action in this case by removing accounts and comments and are continuing to investigate.
"We know there is more to do and we will continue to work closely with clubs, players and football authorities to investigate instances of discrimination and collectively tackle this issue."
I’m not sharing screenshots. It would be irresponsible to do so and as you can imagine there’s nothing original in them. I have beautiful children of all colours following me and they don’t need to read it. Beautiful colours that should only be celebrated.— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) January 30, 2021
Chelsea defender Reece James, West Brom's Romaine Sawyers and United's Axel Tuanzebe and Anthony Martial have also been targeted this week.
Manchester United have confirmed that the insults were of a similar nature to those received by the club's other players earlier in the week.
Greater Manchester Police say they are taking the incidents extremely seriously and are investigating thoroughly.
A statement released on the force's Twitter account said: "Nobody should be subject to such abuse and it is deeply upsetting not only to those who suffer it, but to all those who come across this awful language too.
"These hateful words have no place anywhere in our society whether online or otherwise."
The Football Association has vowed to work with the Government and social media platforms to eradicate racism from the game.
More shocking revelations today from @MarcusRashford on the scale of racist abuse online— Oliver Dowden (@OliverDowden) January 31, 2021
That’s why I organised a roundtable with footballers on mon to discuss how we can use the upcoming Online Harms legislation to tackle this scourge
We must not & will not tolerate this pic.twitter.com/wM2DepPgiY
Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, said he will continue to lead roundtable discussions with current and former players from across men's and women's professional leagues to get their perspective on tackling discrimination and abuse in the game.
"More shocking revelations today from Marcus Rashford on the scale of racist abuse online," Dowden tweeted on Sunday.
"That's why I organised a roundtable with footballers on mon to discuss how we can use the upcoming Online Harms legislation to tackle this scourge. We must not and will not tolerate this."
A statement released on the FA's official Twitter account on Saturday said: "We are united with all of football in our abhorrence of any racist abuse. This is not acceptable in any part of society.
"We will continue to work with the rest of the game, the government and social media platforms to remove this - and all elements of - discrimination from our sport."
Speaking on Friday about the earlier incidents involving Tuanzebe, Martial and Sawyers, Premier League chief executive Richard Masters had said: "Tackling online hate is a priority for football, and I believe social media companies need to do more."
Relating to the abuse of Sawyers, West Midlands Police said a 49-year-old man from Kingswinford, near Birmingham, was questioned in custody on Friday evening.
I commend all those players, supporters, clubs and organisations who continue to call out and condemn this abuse in the strongest terms. - W (3/3)— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) January 31, 2021
PFA urges social media companies to do more
The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) has called for a greater use of technology from social media companies to prevent users from sharing abuse.
"Axel Tuanzebe, Anthony Martial, Romain Sawyers, Reece James and Marcus Rashford should not have to put up with being racially abused because some racist 'fans' don't like the results of a football match," the PFA said.
"These players are at work, and racist abuse should not be tolerated as part of any profession.
"Players have repeatedly raised this issue publicly, and still, the abuse persists. While none of us have the power to eradicate racism from society, social media companies must do their part and eliminate it from their platforms - over which they do have control.
"Enough time has been given to the networks to demonstrate a willingness to act. We have been at crisis point with this issue for two years. Racism causes trauma, and online abuse presents a significant risk to people's mental health and wellbeing.
"With the scale of racist abuse happening on their platforms, we are publicly asking why Twitter, Facebook and Instagram will not prevent users from being able to send explicitly racist terms and emojis? There is no context in which some words are acceptable.
"These steps won't banish all racist abuse, but it would be a start, demonstrating that the platforms value the diverse membership of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram's communities.
"While racist abuse is allowed to continue on each platform, we can only conclude that this is a choice by the companies running the social networks."
'Rinse and repeat cycle over online racism'
Manchester United director of communications Charlie Brooks says the club have held encouraging talks with social media companies recently but insists more still needs to done to tackle online racism.
"In stadiums it's been stamped out and no right-thinking United fans would stand for that - they would clamp down on it," he said.
"It's encouraging because you see fans do that on social media as well, but it's very hard when you have racist trolls who, even if they are tracked and their accounts are closed down, can open a new account.
"We've had good dialogue with social media companies. They've gone and improved monitoring, they will close down accounts when they see it, they will work proactively with us and with the Premier League.
"But ultimately if people's accounts are closed down and they can open a new one straight away and carry on, then we're in a rinse and repeat cycle here."
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