Open letter to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter bosses on racist abuse

Kaya Comer-Schwartz. Picture: Islington Council

Kaya Comer-Schwartz, leader of Islington Council - Credit: Islington Council

Dear Mr Dorsey (Twitter) and Mr Zuckerberg (Facebook, Instagram)

Here in Islington, local people have been incredibly encouraged and enthused by Euro 2020 over the past month.

This has been due to the diversity, the unity and the social awareness of the England manager and his squad. From the courage to take the knee before every game and to continue it despite opposition from members of the Government, to the captain wearing a rainbow armband, this squad has displayed a progressive picture of our country that has brought us all together.

We have been especially proud of Bukayo Saka, one of the youngest members of the squad and one who plays for Arsenal, who are based in our borough. While we were all disappointed by how the tournament finished on Sunday, the unity and positivity the squad created should have continued for some time.

However, this was sadly punctured on Sunday night when it became clear that a sizeable minority of people chose to racially abuse some of the Black English players, in particular Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho.

As you know, this is not an isolated incident. The fact that the majority of individuals and organisations involved in a wide range of sports, as well as in other sectors, chose to abstain from using your platform for four days earlier this year to protect against racial abuse, and the free rein it is given, on social media, spoke volumes. And yet, nothing has changed.

We all see how quickly your platforms is able to remove anything which breaches copyright as quickly as possible. If someone posts a goal scored in the Premier League, they'll be lucky if it is still up an hour later. And yet, horrific racial abuse, including monkey emojis, and can be sent directly to young Black men on your platforms and this remains up forever.

Enough is enough. I am writing this letter to join the chorus of individuals and organisations which have spoken out against this in recent days.

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As Black people, we deserve better. We deserve to be able to go about our daily lives without fear of being sent racial abuse, for no other reason than that we exist.

I implore you to take action, to automatically remove the offending comments and remove the people posting them from your  platforms. We need change now.

Yours sincerely

Councillor Kaya Comer-Schwartz – Leader of Islington Council

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