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Twitter vows to tackle racist abuse targeted at football players

The social media platform Twitter has vowed it will work with authorities to tackle the problem of footballers being targeted with racist abuse on its platform.

Twitter vows to tackle racist abuse targeted at football players

Social media platform Twitter has vowed to protect players from "vile" racism on its platform after holding talks with Kick It Out, the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) and leading English clubs.

The social media giant has faced criticism in recent weeks for allowing players to come in for severe abuse online.

Those affected have included Manchester United's Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba and the Chelsea pair of Tammy Abraham and Kurt Zouma.

Paul Pogba during training

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Chelsea boss Frank Lampard have been quick to call for firm action to prevent the targeting of players.

Twitter said on Wednesday it has "taken action on more than 700 examples of abuse and hateful conduct related to UK football" in the past fortnight.

Kick It Out, the London-based anti-discrimination group, has told Twitter it must deliver "concrete action for change".

Twitter said: "This vile content has no place on our service. We will continue to take swift action on the minority that try to undermine the conversation for the majority.

"We have met with the @PFA, @kickitout and directly affected football clubs, and agreed a number of proactive measures to tackle this issue collectively.

"Working with the @PFA, we will participate in their player training programme and will be joining a series of educational sessions with its membership to support the PFA's ambition to tackle the issue.

"Working with @kickitout, we will continue our working relationship with UK policing to further brief them and provide training on our policies, procedures and dedicated 24/7 reporting channels for law enforcement."

It added: "We want to play our part in curbing this unacceptable behaviour — both online and offline — and will continue engaging with partners and clubs, protecting the conversation from abuse, and taking rapid action on accounts that break our rules."

Kick It Out said the talks took place last week and detailed the steps that were agreed, which include a future meeting with the UK Football Policing Unit and the Crown Prosecution Service to "develop a collaborative, efficient approach to identifying and punishing anyone who posts discriminatory abuse on Twitter".

The Football Association, Premier League and English Football League have also been invited by Kick It Out to attend a further meeting with Twitter.

Kick It Out added: "[We] will continue to take a lead in bringing the football authorities and the legal system together to tackle online abuse.

"But what the public need most is Twitter to show decisive leadership and deliver concrete action for change. We expect to see that in the weeks and months ahead."