Manchester United player Marcus Rashford has urged social media companies to take stronger action to stop racist abuse, telling them to immediately delete the accounts of those responsible.
The England forward was subjected to online racism following United’s 0-0 draw at Arsenal a fortnight ago, comments he described as “humanity and social media at its worst”.
And that came amid widespread racist abuse for several high-profile players in both the men’s and women’s game.
The Premier League, FA, EFL, WSL, Women’s Championship, PFA, LMA, PGMOL and Kick It Out all co-signed an open letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook founder, chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, demanding immediate action earlier this week.
Facebook-owned Instagram announced new measures, including the removal of accounts to prevent abusive messages on its platform, while Twitter vowed to work closely with the football community to tackle the problem.
But many have criticised the firms over the length of time it takes them to act when racist abuse is posted and Rashford suggested deleting accounts should be a more straightforward process.
“Online abuse – it should be easy to stop, just deactivate the accounts,” he told Sky Sports News.
“We know that it’s very easy to make four or five accounts but if you have to block them all, then block them all.
“That’s on the social media companies themselves. If they see anyone being abusive in any way, their account should be deleted immediately, that’s how you’d deal with it.
“I feel like it doesn’t affect me as much as other people because I’m not actively on social media so half the stuff that goes on there, what people are saying about me and other people, I’m not really on top of and I don’t see it.
“But it’s a place people should enjoy. Ten or 15 years ago it wasn’t there and we’re lucky to have it, to be able to connect with people all over the world and from different cultures and religions.
“For it to be used in a negative light is stupid and hopefully they can sort out that issue and it can be a place of good.”
Rashford‘s Old Trafford team-mate Axel Tuanzebe was racially abused online following two games in recent weeks, and the England forward said he had spoken to the defender.
“I spoke to Axel when it happened to him and the way that you deal with it and the way that you move on, that’s how you have to show strength and that you’re mentally capable to deal with those things even though you shouldn’t have to,” Rashford said.
“Axel is a tough lad. It’s not nice to hear those things but he’s bounced back. He’s always happy and smiling and works hard.”
A Facebook spokesperson said: “We don’t want hate and racism on Facebook and Instagram.
“When we find content that breaks our rules we remove it, and we deactivate accounts who continue to break our rules.
“This week we announced tougher action on people breaking our rules in Instagram DMs and we will also deactivate accounts created to get around these restrictions.”