Welcome to Africanews

Please select your experience

Watch Live



"Not good enough" - Rio Ferdinand slams UK government for lack of action on racism

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand poses for photographs after being interviewed by the Associated Press in Manchester, England, Tuesday Aug. 25, 2009.   -  
Copyright © africanews
Jon Super/AP


Rio Ferdinand says not enough is being done to end trolling on social media platforms, and they are failing to end racially motivated abuse.

The former England captain says he fears the storm of racial abuse on social media could cause players to worry more about the online impact of their mistakes, rather than the game itself.

He added part of the problem is the people in power to enforce change "don't feel that discrimination" and don't understand what it is like to be at the target of racist abuse.

Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka endured a barrage of abuse after they missed penalties in England’s shootout defeat at London’s Wembley Stadium on July 11 at Euro 2020.

British police said the following month that they have made 11 arrests in connection with the online racial abuse of England football players following their team’s loss to Italy in the final of the European Championship.

Ferdinand was speaking at an event hosted by "revolutionary social media platform" WeAre8.

Together they launched Blow The Whistle on Wednesday in London - a campaign to "raise awareness about the continued prevalence of racial abuse in football and its profound impact on players, fans, communities, and the sport as a whole, from the England team to local grassroots clubs. It will empower the world to stand together in a safe social home and say no to racism."

"With WeAre8’s unique application of validated identity and recognition / AI infrastructure, players, fans and families now have a safe social alternative where anonymous accounts are not accepted and directed hate isn’t tolerated. With the tech framework in place, players and fans can feel free to express their biggest selves without fear of negativity and abuse. "

"And through WeAre8’s centralized wallet, people can pay their earnings from watching ads forward to communities they care about. This campaign is backing Common Goal’s ‘Anti-Racist Project’ - which supports training, community competitions and advocacy projects aimed at combating racism in football."

In September 2023 British lawmakers approved an ambitious internet safety law with wide-ranging powers to crack down on digital and social media companies like TikTok, Google, and Facebook and Instagram parent Meta.

The Online Safety Act requires social media platforms to take down illegal content, including child sexual abuse, hate speech and terrorism, revenge porn and posts promoting self-harm. They also will have to stop such content from appearing in the first place and give users more controls, including blocking anonymous trolls.