Boris Johnson to meet with FB, Twitter over racist abuse of players

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The football community and sports world continue to discuss how England’s Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were targeted with racist abuse online after they missed their penalties in Sunday’s shootout loss to Italy in the UEFA European Championship final. 

According to Sky Sports, United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson planned to meet with Facebook and Twitter on Tuesday to address ways such racist messages could be prevented and more harshly punished. 

“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,” a spokesperson said Tuesday. 

“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.”

The spokesperson didn’t clarify specific requests Johnson could make during the discussion.

England captain and Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane condemned those who sent abuse to his teammates via a statement shared by his social media accounts. 

“If you abuse anyone on social media you’re not an England fan and we don’t want you,” Kane said. 

Rashford, meanwhile, thanked supporters for their positive messages sent following the final. 

Sky added that a 50-year-old man was arrested and released under investigation on suspicion of racially abusing Rashford online. Per Sky, a youth football coach said his Twitter account that was allegedly responsible for an offensive tweet had been hacked. 

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