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Social Media: Racial Harassment

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN HL12863, tabled on 1 February 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they plan to have with social media companies about racist abuse of Premier League football players on social media platforms.

Answered on

8 February 2021

Ministers and officials meet regularly with social media companies to discuss online harms. The Culture Secretary and Sports Minister recently led a roundtable discussion with current and former players from the Premier League, English Football League (EFL), Women’s Super League (WSL) and Women’s Championship, which discussed online racist abuse and players’ perspectives on tackling discrimination in the game.

We are clear that the online racist abuse of Premier League football players is unacceptable. We must do all we can to tackle it. We are taking steps through the online harms regulatory framework to ensure that online abuse, whether anonymous or not, is addressed. Under a new legal duty of care, companies will need to remove and limit the spread of illegal content, including illegal online abuse. All companies will need to take swift and effective action against such content.

Companies providing high-risk, high-reach services will also need to undertake regular risk assessments to identify legal but harmful material on their services. These companies will need to set clear terms and conditions which explicitly state what categories of legal but harmful material they accept (and do not accept) on their service. Companies will need to enforce these terms and conditions consistently and transparently and could face enforcement action if they do not. The Online Safety Bill, which will give effect to the regulatory framework, will be ready this year.