Mikel Arteta demands social media platforms do more after Thierry Henry logs out

Mikel Arteta has urged social media companies to acknowledge and act on their “big responsibility” to eradicate racist abuse on social media.

Numerous Premier League and Women’s Super League players have suffered online abuse this season, with midfielder Fred targeted after Manchester United’s FA Cup defeat by Leicester.

His Old Trafford teammates Marcus Rashford, Axel Tuanzebe and Anthony Martial, as well as Manchester United Women midfielder Lauren James and her brother, Chelsea defender Reece James, have also received abuse.

Arsenal legend Thierry Henry deactivated his social media accounts last week as he called for companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to do more to tackle hate crime on their platforms.

Arteta urged social media companies to work to "eradicate" online abuse
Arteta urged social media companies to work to “eradicate” online abuse

Gunners boss Arteta has echoed the Frenchman’s message, saying: “Abuse has to be eradicated completely because it’s causing a lot of damage.

“Social media platforms have a big responsibility on that.”

Arsenal CEO Vinai Venkatesham added: “How do you explain to a black footballer that a piece of pirated content is taken down within minutes, but that’s not the same for racist abuse?”

Henry deactivated his social media accounts in response to continued hate crime
Henry deactivated his social media accounts in response to continued hate crime

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The north London club also promoted the “Stop Online Abuse” hashtag and threw their weight behind the list of demands made by leading English football governing bodies and organisations, and the Kick It Out campaign.

Arsenal listed the four demands – which call for increased filtering and identification measures – on their Twitter account:

  1. Racist/discriminatory messages/posts should be filtered/blocked before they are received.
  2. Operate robust/transparent/swift measures to take down abusive material if it does get into circulation.
  3. Users subject to verification that allows for accurate ID of person behind the account. Steps taken to stop a user that has sent abuse from re-registering.
  4. Our platforms should actively assist investigating authorities in identifying the originators of discriminatory posts.

A statement added: “All of us at Arsenal – players, staff and fans – stand together to address the flow of abusive posts and messages on social media platforms.

“We call on everyone to join forces and identify, condemn and highlight abuse when they see it.

“This is about changing attitudes and making a difference every day. We do this through our community work and the Arsenal for Everyone programme – but it’s time for us all to work together.”

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