Online abuse should be ‘easy to stop’, says Rashford

February 13, 2021

Abuse on social media should be “easy to stop”, says Manchester United and England forward Marcus Rashford.

Rashford is one of several players to have been racially abused online in recent weeks, while manager Steve Bruce and referee Mike Dean have received death threats.

Social media companies have been told by football’s authorities to “go further” with how they deal with abuse.

But Rashford thinks the first step is simply to “deactivate accounts”.

“Online abuse should be easy to stop,” the 23-year-old told Sky Sports. “You just deactivate the accounts.

“It’s very easy to make four or five accounts but if you’ve got to block them out you block them out.

“I feel that’s on the actual social media companies themselves – Instagram, Twitter.

“If they see anyone that’s being racially abused or abused in any way their accounts should be deleted straight away.

“That’s one way of getting rid of most of it, if not all of it.”

Some of football’s governing bodies have written a joint letter to Twitter boss Jack Dorsey and the founder of Facebook – which also owns Instagram – Mark Zuckerberg.

The letter is signed by the Premier League, English Football League, women’s professional game, Professional Footballers’ Association, League Managers’ Association, Professional Game Match Officials’ Board and anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out.

In addition, the Football Association has called for action from the government, which has since stated social media companies could face “large fines” potentially amounting to “billions of pounds” if they fail to tackle abuse on their platforms.

Rashford’s fellow United players Axel Tuanzebe, Anthony Martial and Lauren James are among those to have received online abuse recently, in addition to West Brom’s Romaine Sawyers and Chelsea full-back Reece James.

“I feel it [social media] doesn’t affect me as much other people,” Rashford said.

“I’m not active on social media, I only go on it on occasions to spread messages, congratulate somebody or post messages about the team. Throughout my every day life I’m not on it.

“It doesn’t have as much an effect on me as it does other people, but it should be a place where people should be happy and just enjoy it.

“It wasn’t here 10-to-15 years ago and we’re privileged to have it, to connect with people all over the world with different cultures and religions.

“To see people use it in a negative way is stupid. Hopefully they can sort out that issue and it can be a place of good and happiness.”

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