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Facebook in talks with UK law officials to tackle online racist abuse against players

Published: Updated:

Facebook Inc said on Thursday it was in talks with UK law enforcement officials to help support investigations into online racial abuse against English soccer players following their recent loss to Italy in the Euro 2020 final.

Black players in the England team were subjected to a storm of online racist abuse after their defeat in the final of the soccer tournament, drawing wide condemnation from the squad’s captain, manager, royalty, religious leaders, and politicians.

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The comments also prompted a police investigation, although critics accused some ministers of hypocrisy for refusing to support a high profile anti-racist stance the players took during the tournament.

Facebook said it was in discussions with Britain’s National Police Chiefs Council, the UK Home Office Football Policing Unit and local police forces to understand how it can support active investigations, while ensuring that valid data requests are submitted.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged on Wednesday to toughen measures against online hate, banning fans from games if they are found guilty of such offences and fining social media for failing to remove it.

Social media companies including Facebook and Twitter Inc have come under fire for amplifying hate speech and misinformation globally across their platforms.

Facebook also removed more than 25 million hate speech posts from its platform and more than 6 million posts on Instagram that contained words or emojis promoting racism, during the first three months of the year, it said in a blog post.

Read more: Britain’s PM Johnson to ban online racists from games after Euro 2020 uproar