Report: Twitter to Monitor Profiles of 50 Black Footballers After Racist Abuse

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistAugust 22, 2019

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 19: Paul Pogba of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester United at Molineux on August 19, 2019 in Wolverhampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images)
James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images

Twitter is reportedly set to closely monitor activity on the platform surrounding 50 high-profile black footballers in an attempt to stop racist abuse.

According to Martyn Ziegler of The Times, "the monitoring system will aim to react more promptly to remove racist posts, block abusers' accounts and report them to the police."

A Twitter insider said, "we've made it a priority to reduce the burden on people to report."

Manchester United's Paul Pogba was abused on social media on Monday after he saw a penalty saved in the 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League.

The Frenchman's United team-mates Marcus Rashford and Harry Maguire made their feelings known on the matter:

Marcus Rashford @MarcusRashford

Enough now, this needs to stop @Twitter https://t.co/275sc9RriQ

Harry Maguire @HarryMaguire93

Disgusting. Social media need to do something about it... Every account that is opened should be verified by a passport/driving licence. Stop these pathetic trolls making numerous accounts to abuse people. @Twitter @instagram https://t.co/bzow073aTw

Twitter provided a statement to Rob Harris of the Associated Press about the incidents:

Rob Harris @RobHarris

Heard back from Twitter after racist abuse was sent to @paulpogba. They say it is a "societal issue and requires a societal response" and that they are still looking to "identify meaningful solutions to this unacceptable behaviour" https://t.co/DhvlscaLu6

Chelsea also condemned "abhorrent posts" directed towards striker Tammy Abraham after he missed the decisive penalty in the shootout loss to Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup final. On Sunday, Reading said, "we won't give oxygen to racist comments" sent to Yakou Meite after he also missed a penalty.

BBC Sport reported that Twitter will meet with United and Kick It Out following the abuse directed towards Pogba. 

Meanwhile, Liam Twomey of The Athletic said he is unsure whether the proposed monitoring measures set to be taken by Twitter get to the root of the problem:

Liam Twomey @liam_twomey

This is the kind of ‘solution’ proposed by people more concerned with PR than the actual problem https://t.co/TyksoqfmsD

Per Ziegler, some footballers took part in a 24-hour boycott of social media last season, triggering a meeting between representatives from Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and the Premier League.

Twitter has since reportedly changed its policy when it comes to racist and abusive posts to a more proactive approach. In the past, the platform would only investigate instances of racist or discriminatory language if they were reported.