Manchester United are said to be seeking talks with Twitter in the aftermath of the racist abuse aimed at Paul Pogba on the social media platform following his missed penalty in Monday night’s 1-1 Premier League draw against Wolves.
United strongly condemned the abuse, while a number of players publicly spoke in support of Pogba – Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford and Harry Maguire – and urged action to be taken.
The Times has reported that the police will help United identify those responsible.
According to the Daily Mail, United want ‘face-to-face’ talks with Twitter executives so that they are better able to discuss their concerns, in a bid to prevent further abuse in the future.
A separate report by the Daily Mail suggests that Twitter is thankfully looking to address the racial abuse that lives on its platform, explaining that a ‘blueprint to combat the alarming levels of racial abuse suffered by footballers’ will be presented to campaign group KickItOut next week.
It is said that the existing plans to hold discussions with KickItOut have been fast-tracked as a result of the increasing urgency surrounding the issue.
Pogba is far from the only footballer to have been racially abused online in recent weeks and months alone. Old Trafford teammate Ashley Young was on the receiving end of the abhorrent abuse in April, as were Watford pair Troy Deeney and Christian Kabasele.
Just last week, Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham was racially abused on Twitter after missing a penalty in the UEFA Super Cup against Liverpool, as was Reading forward Yakou Meite. There were also a number of incidents of racial abuse at EFL grounds earlier this month, while a Chelsea ‘fan’ was banned for life by the club following abuse of Raheem Sterling last season.
KickItOut revealed shocking statistics of racism reports in football rising by 43% last season.
England Women manager Phil Neville has urged footballers to boycott social media for an extended period of six months in a bid to force companies like Twitter and Instagram to actively step up their safeguarding and stamp out all forms of online abuse.
“We have to take drastic measures now as a football community. I've had it with my players on social media, the Premier League and the Championship have had it," Neville was quoted as saying by BBC Sport on Tuesday.
“I just wonder whether as a football community we come off social media, because Twitter won’t do anything about it, Instagram won’t do anything about it - they send you an email reply saying they’ll investigate but nothing happens.
“I’ve lost total faith in whoever runs these social media departments, so let’s send a powerful message: come off social media (for) six months. Let’s see the effect it has on these social media companies.”