Euro 2020: Why racist slurs and abuse remain rife on social media

July 13, 2021 | 2 minutes read

Social media companies came under light after the use of their platforms to racially abuse and berate football players, following the dramatic and anticipated final of the Euro 2020 men’s tournament on Sunday night. 

Technology giants can’t defend these incidents anymore. It is their platforms that are being used to hurl racist abuse at the players, how can they not be held responsible for it? Social media has never been regulated in the same manner as traditional media was once as they don’t fall under the umbrella of publishing and broadcasting. 

If racist comments appear under this news post, the company will be held responsible for it but there aren’t any set guidelines and rules in place to regulate the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. However, the UK has planned regulations with an intent to charge heavy fines but it is still to be seen if heavy fines can compel the heads of these multi-million dollar businesses to get them to act. 

Traditional media doesn’t have to deal with the inundated number of videos and content that these social media platforms do. For example, Facebook has two billion users who are posting videos and content in real time every day. The human moderators employed by the companies can’t deal with these numbers. The only solution in sight is Automation, the companies are heavily investing in Automation not with just money but faith.

The use of trained algorithms to seek out abusive material before it gets published. The blanket banning of incendiary hashtags, “hashtags” kind of creates a digital fingerprint that then detects every hashtag bearing the same marker are already functional. 

Automation remains a bit of a blunt technology, so far. It can’t filter out nuances, context, and cultural norms based on racist slang and thus is inefficient in containing the abuse and racist slurs. 

Instagram was quick in its action and removed the racist slurs posted targetting the football player instantly and Twitter removed all the tweets in 24 hours but by and large, it still can’t take down crafty edits, memes, and content that is abusive. 

People behind the keyboards have found an outlet to join the army of abusers and hurl abuses and insensitive opinions at others while before social media, it wasn’t this easy. Stringent regulations and algorithms should be placed to regulate social media use.