PM meets BigTech giants to tackle online racism

Prime minister Boris Johnson met with social media executives on Tuesday to discuss how to tackle abuse on their platforms following racist online attacks against football players from the England team.

After the squad’s Euro 2020 final defeat over the weekend, Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka, and Jadon Sancho faced a barrage of racist abuse across a number of social media platforms.

Boris Johnson met with both Facebook and Twitter to explore the next steps in tackling this kind of online abuse.

"The Prime Minister opened cabinet by repeating his condemnation of the racist abuse aimed at some of the England team following Sunday's Euro 2020 final," Johnson’s official spokesperson said. “He said the abuse was utterly disgraceful and had emerged from the dark spaces of the internet.”

The prime minister also said that he would use the meeting with social media firms to “reiterate the urgent need for action”, ahead of “tougher laws” coming into force through the online harms bill.

The draft online safety bill was published in May.

"I don't want to pre-empt what he will say, but we think through the scale and prevalence of racist abuse that social media companies need to up their game to prevent online abuse now," said the spokesperson when questioned about what the prime minister might ask social media firms to do, according to Sky News.

Earlier this week BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT said that social media should require users to verify their identities to combat online abuse.

According to a poll of the IT industry carried out by BCS earlier this year - most tech experts (64 per cent) want platforms like Twitter and Facebook to ask for real ID, making people accountable for what they post.

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