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Racial Abuse on the rise following England's Euro Cup final defeat

Racial Abuse on the rise following England's Euro Cup final defeat

England's football fans experienced national heartbreak on Sunday night when their team came within a whisker of winning its first major international tournament in over half a century, only to lose in a penalty shootout to Italy.

It also represented yet another heinous act of bigotry on social media, with some fans venting their frustrations and rage at the three players who had missed their penalty kicks, all of whom happened to be Black.

The hatred posed a direct challenge to the social media platforms, with an event-specific rise in hate speech necessitating a refocus of moderation efforts to limit the harm. It's just the latest incident for social media platforms, which must be vigilant during politically or culturally charged events.

While the national team and manager, Gareth Southgate, made it plain that the defeat was something that the entire team had to bear, some dissatisfied fans took to Twitter and Instagram to criticize Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka in particular.

While these firms have a regular mechanism in place to delete the information, which includes using machine-automated technologies and human reviewers, this latest event is another source of dissatisfaction for individuals who believe the social networks aren't responding quickly enough.

Companies rely on consumers to report information that violates guidelines to close the gap. Many people were sharing advice and recommendations about how to best report information, both to platforms and to the authorities, after Sunday's match. It was distressing for those same people to learn that a company's moderation system had detected no flaws in the racist abuse they'd exposed.

Racist abuse is considered a hate crime in the United Kingdom, and the Metropolitan Police Service of London announced in a statement that it will investigate instances that occurred online after the match. In a follow-up email, a Met spokesman said the incidents of abuse were being triaged by the Home Office before being sent on to local police forces to handle.

A spokeswoman for Twitter stated in a statement that the company "quickly" erased over 1,000 posts using a combination of machine-based automation and human assessment. Furthermore, it has permanently suspended "a number" of accounts, "the vast majority" of which it spotted proactively. "The heinous racial abuse aimed at England players on Twitter last night has no place on Twitter," the spokesman stated.

Meanwhile, Instagram users were furious because they were noticing and reporting, among other things, sequences of monkey emojis (a frequent racist stereotype) being placed on Black players' accounts.

The problem of racism in English football is not new. The Football Association, Premier League, and Professional Footballers' Association were forced to start Kick It Out, an initiative to combat racism, in 1993, which grew into a full-fledged organization in 1997.

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