Twitter needs an ‘auto-ban’ for racist messages, says sports chaplain after Premier League stars are targeted
The Westminster Diocesan Chaplain for Sport has urged Twitter to use artificial intelligence (AI) software to instantly delete offensive comments after racially abusive tweets targeting Premier League footballers were found on the site up to five years after being posted.
The Press Association found dozens of historical posts with racist language aimed at Premier League players such as Mohamed Salah, Danny Welbeck and Raheem Sterling.
Similar racists posts were also found which targeted Chelsea’s Michy Batschuayi, Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Tottenham’s Moussa Sissoko.
Twitter deleted the tweets after they were brought to its attention.
However, Mgr Vladimir Felzmann has now suggested that social media companies should implement AI technology in order to ensure that such offensive messages are deleted as soon as they are posted.
“Racism is, alas, deeply rooted in all too many immature humans. Tech companies could programme their software to instantly delete offensive and racist words whenever they are posted,” Mgr Felzmann, who is also the CEO of the John Paul II Society for Sport, told The Catholic Universe.
He also urged people to post positive messages about all players. “Decent supporters should be able to post positive messages about players from ALL races. Staying silent is not enough. Remember, evil will triumph if the good do nowt.”
The posts were discovered a day after the Government issued a White Paper on online harms, which proposes new measures to regulate internet companies who do not adequately protect their users.
At the launch, Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: “We cannot allow the leaders of some of the tech companies to simply look the other way and deny their share of responsibility even as content on their platforms incites criminality, abuse and even murder.”
Asked about the posts and those responsible for them, Twitter said: “We don’t comment on individual accounts for privacy and security reasons.
“Our primary objective is to serve and improve the health of the public conversation. This means more quality, credible content, building new policies and safety tools, and tackling issues such as abuse which detract from the health of the public conversation.
“This is paying dividends and we’ve seen a marked reduction in abuse reports. We will continue our singular focus on protecting the customers we serve,” it said.
The company said it “introduced over 70 changes to make the service safer, including investment in better machine learning technology to help us proactively limit the spread of abusive content”.
However, it was unable to immediately explain how the abusive tweets had remained on the platform for so long.
Anti-racism campaigners Kick It Out said the technologies Twitter has in place to tackle the issues are “evidently” not working.
“Twitter says abuse and harassment has ‘no place’ on its site, but it is obvious that there really is a place for it there and in our view the problem is getting worse,” a spokesperson said.
Forthcoming Premier League fixtures:
Saturday 20th April
Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur – 12:30pm
AFC Bournemouth v Fulham – 3:00pm
Huddersfield Town v Watford – 3:00pm
West Ham United v Leicester City – 3:00pm
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Brighton & Hove Albion – 3:00pm
Newcastle United v Southampton – 5:30pm
Sunday 21st April
Everton v Manchester United – 1:30pm
Arsenal v Crystal Palace – 4:00pm
Cardiff City v Liverpool – 4:00pm
Monday 22nd April
Chelsea v Burnley – 8:00pm
Tuesday 23rd April
Tottenham Hotspur v Brighton & Hove Albion – 7:45pm
Watford v Southampton – 7:45pm
Wednesday 24th April
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Arsenal – 7:45pm
Manchester United v Manchester City – 8:00pm
Friday 26th April
Liverpool v Huddersfield Town – 8:00pm
Picture: Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah was one of the recipients of racist abuse. (Martin Rickett/PA).Tags: AFC Bournemouth, AFC Bournemouth v Fulham, AFC Bournemouth vs Fulham, Arsenal, Arsenal v Crystal Palace, Arsenal vs Crystal Palace, Brighton & Hove Albion, Burnley, Cardiff City, Cardiff City v Liverpool, Cardiff City vs Liverpool, Chelsea, Chelsea v Burnley, Chelsea vs Burnley, Crystal Palace, Danny Welbeck, Everton, Everton v Manchester United, Everton vs Manchester United, fixtures, Fulham, Huddersfield Town, Huddersfield Town v Watford, Huddersfield Town vs Watford, John Paul II Society for Sport, Leicester City, Liverpool, Liverpool v Huddersfield Town, Liverpool vs Huddersfield Town, Manchester City, Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City vs Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Manchester United v Manchester City, Manchester United vs Manchester City, messages, Mgr Felzmann, Mgr Vladimir Felzmann, Michy Batschuayi, Mohamed Salah, Moussa Sissoko, Newcastle United, Newcastle United v Southampton, Newcastle United vs Southampton, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Premier League, racist, Raheem Sterling, Sajid Javid, Southampton, Sports Chaplain, Tottenham Hotspur, Tottenham Hotspur v Brighton & Hove Albion, Tottenham Hotspur vs Brighton & Hove Albion, twitter, Watford, Watford v Southampton, Watford vs Southampton, West Ham United, West Ham United v Leicester City, West Ham United vs Leicester City, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Wolverhampton Wanderers v Arsenal, Wolverhampton Wanderers v Brighton & Hove Albion, Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Arsenal, Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Brighton & Hove Albion