Editorial: Twitter must apply standards to tackle racism online following Pogba abuse

Unless you’ve been living under the rock the past 24 hours you will have noticed responses to racist abuse Paul Pogba was subject to following Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Wolves, on Twitter.

Pogba was involved in a controversial penalty incident during which he decided to take the penalty he won, despite Marcus Rashford scoring from a spot-kick last week against Chelsea. Why change something if it’s not broken was the view shared most by fans and pundits alike.

Nothing would have been made of Pogba taking the penalty had he scored, and I have no issue with people being pissed off that he did but the racist abuse is bullshit and nobody needs me telling them it’s a million steps too far…

READ MORE: ‘You attack him you attack us all’: Marcus Rashford weighs in on Pogba racism issue

We have a relatively decent sized online community based around Manchester United being an established blog since 2010.

The language shared can be, at times, considered industrial – from ourselves just as much as others. We’re a bunch of football fans with a voice – and all of us deserve to have that whether or not clubs in question want to listen.

That’s ok, of course, we’re all adults. We use curse words but encourage debate and discussion. Football is a game of opinions and, like an arsehole, everyone has one.

It’s very rare we attract the kind of people who overstep the mark, but when we do there’s a couple of steps we recommend taking. On social media there’s a handy tool to report nasty comments, and you can always block these users afterwards.

We use Twitter for a number of reasons but mostly to share articles and to source news as well as our own stories.

Even if MUFC Twitter can get a bit mad at times, like it did last night when United dropped for the first time this season, we don’t get exposed to the worst on the platform due to being careful who we follow and engage with.

It makes the whole Twitter experience a bit better, at least.

You wouldn’t go into a bar renowned for having racist slogans and ‘no foreigners’ banners, so why would you choose to spend your time online in such proximity to those kind of people?

These scumbags deserve outing and Twitter, as well as Facebook and Instagram, needs to share some of the responsibility for reoccurring offences. New signing Harry Maguire shared a good idea with a tweet in which he backed Pogba against the abuse, and it offers a potential solution for the social networks to tackle racism.

It’s too easy for the Tom, Dick and Harrys out there to create anonymous accounts on social media. They use all sorts of usernames to hide their identity before posting bile to troll public figures for fun, some do it to all sorts because it’s a quick fix to offend others with the cheapest shots.

By demanding new users sign up with passport / driving licence approval, it will be easier for Twitter to identify who owns each account making such cases of abuse easier to solve.

I feel if I didn’t try filter comments we receive on Facebook and other platforms, it could go a long way to tarnishing the reputation we’ve built over the years and it would also be a reflection of the website I started as a teenager and who I am as a person.

Twitter may continue to play a blind eye to the racist abuse that’s been aimed at footballers for years, but let’s not pretend it just happens online because it’s also a black mark on society.

There are great things about Twitter but something has to give with these incidents occurring far too frequently as the culprits seem to get away with it.

Let’s hope it’s not too late before Twitter decides to apply standards because even though we didn’t see any of the racist abuse last night, we know if you looked far enough into the bottomless pit of social media you’ll find plenty of unnecessary hate.


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