UK PM Boris Johnson to meet with social media companies over online abuse


Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to meet with social media companies in Downing Street on Tuesday to discuss how to better tackle online abuse.

Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka’s social media pages were flooded with racist comments after their penalty shootout misses during England’s Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy, leading the FA to release a statement condemning the “disgusting behaviour”.

The Prime Minister immediately criticised the abuse the players had suffered, insisting the perpetrators “should be ashamed”, and will now meet with Facebook and Twitter to discuss the next steps.

“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,” the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said.

“He said the abuse was utterly disgraceful and had emerged from the dark spaces of the internet.

“He said he would use today’s meeting with social media firms to reiterate the urgent need for action, ahead of tougher laws coming into force through the online harms bill.

“He added there is no question this kind of abuse is extremely upsetting, unfair and needs to be stamped out.”

Asked what the Prime Minister would ask social media firms to do, the PMOS said: “I don’t want to preempt 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.”

The subject of online abuse was raised in the House of Lords on Tuesday afternoon.

Lord Coaker asked whether Baroness Barran, the Lords Minister for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) would “call out those who dismissed taking the knee against racism as gesture politics or refused to condemn fans booing players”.

Baroness Barran said: “The Prime Minister (Boris Johnson) has been absolutely clear that people should feel free to show their respect and condemn racism in whatever way they choose.”