Boris Johnson summoned tech giants to Downing Street last night and ordered them to ‘up their game’ over the racist trolling of England football stars.
The Prime Minister gave the bosses of leading social media companies a stern warning, telling them they must take urgent action before the introduction of laws which could land them with huge fines. Much of the abuse online is sent by cyber bullies, so-called keyboard warriors, hiding behind anonymous unidentifiable accounts.
The companies including Twitter, Facebook and TikTok were told they must hand over the details of those found to have posted racist comments so the authorities will be able to make an example of them.
It comes as police continue to identify the trolls responsible for the unacceptable insults aimed at Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, the three England players who missed penalties in Sunday night’s Euro 2020 final.
The No.10 summit had been scheduled before the football tournament began, with the tech giants invited to Downing Street for a garden reception for the Diana Award anti-bullying charity, but the talks were given fresh impetus after the targeting of the footballers that led to widespread condemnation from politicians, players and president of the FA, Prince William.
Ahead of the meeting, Mr Johnson said:
“We think through the scale and prevalence of racist abuse, that social media companies now really need to up their game to prevent online abuse. We expect social media companies to do everything they can to identify these people. The police already have a range of powers to identify and pursue those who use anonymity to spread hatred, but we’ve committed to strengthening the criminal law in this area.’
An online petition calling for racists to get life bans from all football matches in England has now received over a million signatures.