Wednesday 22 November 2017

Twitter responds to criticism after Collymore death threats

Stan Collymore received racial abuse on Twitter
Stan Collymore received racial abuse on Twitter

Matthew Cooper

Twitter has insisted it has clear processes to help the police tackle racist abuse after former England footballer Stan Collymore was subjected to death threats online.

Collymore, who works as a pundit for radio station Talksport, has asked Staffordshire Police to investigate "horrific" racist tweets.

The former Liverpool, Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest striker claims children as young as 10 are being "goaded" by adults into posting racist and sexist tweets. The 43-year-old star has also accused Twitter of having poor age verification procedures and of "hiding behind" claims that it is unable to comment on individual cases.

In a statement issued via its own site, Twitter told users: "Direct, targeted abuse and specific threats of violence are against our rules.

"You can let us know if you see abusive tweets by using the new 'report tweet' button or through our online forms."

Twitter said its trust and safety team, which is being increased in size, worked 24 hours a day to respond to reports of abusive tweets.

"We cannot stop people from saying offensive, hurtful things on the internet or on Twitter.

"But we take action when content is reported to us that breaks our rules or is illegal."

Collymore used his Twitter account on Tuesday to urge the social media site to do more to combat internet "trolls".

The broadcaster contacted police after receiving a spate of racially offensive messages.

Having attracted more than 500,000 followers on Twitter over the past six years, Collymore received the latest in a string of abusive messages after criticising Liverpool striker Luis Suarez following last Saturday's match against Aston Villa at Anfield.

Appearing as a guest on BBC1's 'Breakfast' programme, the ex-footballer said: "The age user range of Twitter has gone down dramatically.

"I am seeing gangs of kids from 10 to 18 goaded by adults to make racist, and homophobic and sexist insults on Twitter, so Twitter need to deal with it. It's quite horrific."

A Staffordshire Police spokesman said: "We've been in contact with Mr Collymore to get more information and to reassure him that we will carry out a thorough and detailed investigation."

Irish Independent

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