Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Twitter must do more to Kick It Out

Telegraph Sport: where the debate starts

Stan Collymore received death threats on Twitter
Stan Collymore received death threats on Twitter

Kick It Out, the anti-discrimination organisation, says it has encountered a 43% increase in abuse being posted on social media sites such as Twitter.

That disclosure would certainly have triggered more attention than it did if we were not becoming so immune to such abuse – delivered from fan to fan, or from fan to competitor in the case of athletes like Beth Tweddle, Tom Daley and British speed skater Elise Christie.

There was hardly a flinch when Christie revealed that she had been on the receiving end of such a degree of abuse, after her disqualification in the 500m final at Sochi, that she had been forced to take down her Twitter account.

It somehow seemed to be in the natural order of things.

Stan Collymore followed a similar course last month after his suggestion that Liverpool's Luis Suarez had deliberately dived to win a penalty against Aston Villa created another of the Kick It Out spikes.

Collymore demanded that Twitter do more to preserve the right of individuals who want to have their say without being subjected to a tide of racism from those who are protected by digital anonymity.

Collymore was right. Twitter can do more.

You do wonder how long those in elite sport will want to maintain a presence in such an environment.

In a world where journalists' access to footballers is more limited than ever, there's an irony about the minority of the maladjusted being free to abuse them at will.

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