The Instagram social media site has refused to take down much of the racist social media abuse directed at Black English soccer players in recent days, including the frequent use of monkey emojis, saying it did not violate terms of service, the Daily Mail reported Monday
Facebook and Twitter said Monday they were scrambling to take down racially abusive comments directed at members of the England football team following a heartbreaking loss in Sunday’s Euro 2020 final.
The US social media giants said they were taking down racist and hateful content which had prompted condemnation from British political leaders.
However, many users who reported racist comments on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, said they were informed that posts that used monkey emojis and the N-word were not considered racist.
The Daily Mail quoted several users who said reports of racism were not taken seriously,
One user, Emily May, said on Twitter: “I’ve spent an hour today reporting racist accounts. But according to Instagram monkey emojis and the N word are okay.”‘
Another said: “Instagram said that the banana and ape and monkey comments on Saka’s photo weren’t against community guidelines. Come get your algorithm, Instagram.”
Update – @instagram said that the banana and ape/monkey comments on Saka’s photo weren’t against community guidelines. COME GET YOUR ALGORITHM, INSTAGRAM https://t.co/JYS1oGWOUt pic.twitter.com/evc3KA22VP
— Shelldog (@shellynichole) July 12, 2021
Despite the messages received by users, Instagram told the Daily Mail that these emojis, used in this context, definitely were a violation and they were working to take them down.
The actions came after a stream of abusive messages on Twitter and Instagram directed at Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, the three players who missed England’s penalties on Sunday.
“The abhorrent racist abuse directed at England players last night has absolutely no place on Twitter,” said a spokesperson for the San Francisco-based short messaging service.
“In the past 24 hours, through a combination of machine learning based automation and human review, we have swiftly removed over 1,000 Tweets and permanently suspended a number of accounts for violating our rules — the vast majority of which we detected ourselves proactively using technology. ”
Facebook said earlier in a statement it had “quickly removed comments and accounts directing abuse at England’s footballers last night and we’ll continue to take action against those that break our rules”.
“No one thing will fix this challenge overnight, but we’re committed to keeping our community safe from abuse,” it said.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other leaders expressed dismay over the online abuse.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden tweeted, “I share the anger at appalling racist abuse of our heroic players” while warning online services.
“Social media companies need to up their game in addressing it and, if they fail to, our new Online Safety Bill will hold them to account with fines of up to 10 per cent of global revenue,” he wrote.