Twitter deleted almost 2,000 racist tweets in wake of Euro 2020 final with most from UK

Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka all received racist abuse online after missing penalities. Credit: PA

Most of the racist abuse on Twitter directed at the England team during the Euros originated from the UK, the social media giant revealed, adding it deleted almost 2,000 tweets in the wake of England's final against Italy.

The company said it identified and removed 1,622 tweets during the final and in the 24 hours after the match – rising to 1,961 three days after the game.

Twitter also said the UK was "by far" the largest country of origin for the abusive tweets on the night of the final and the days that followed.

Following defeat to Italy in the final, England players Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were racially abused online after missing penalties in the shootout at Wembley last month.

Twitter said racism was a "deep societal issue" still also taking place offline, but acknowledged it needed to do better to make its platform safe and encouraged further collective action alongside government and football authorities.

In an update on its response to the incident, Twitter said it had put in place plans to "quickly identify and remove racist, abusive tweets targeting the England team and wider Euros conversation" before the tournament.

The site and others have been accused of being slow to respond to online abuse and removing it, but Twitter said as a result of its plans, only 2% of the tweets removed following the final generated more than 1,000 impressions, or views, before being taken down.

It said it was continuing to work on ways to reduce the visibility of this type of content to ensure fewer people see it before it is removed.

England manager Gareth Southgate consoled Saka after the Euro 2020 Final penalty shoot out. Credit: Mike Egerton/PA

In response to the abuse some campaigners have called for ID verification to be introduced to social media to help quickly identify those involved and prevent people from hiding behind anonymous accounts.

Twitter said its analysis suggests this would have been unlikely to prevent the abuse during the Euros from happening.

According to Twitter’s data, 99% of the account owners it suspended during the tournament for abuse rule breaches were identifiable and not posting anonymously.

“Our aim is always that Twitter be used as a vehicle for every person to communicate safely - be it in highlighting injustice or giving a voice to those communities who have been historically under-represented,” Twitter UK said.

“There is no place for racist abuse on Twitter and we are determined to do all we can to stop these abhorrent views and behaviours from being seen on our platform.

“We can do better. We fully acknowledge our responsibility to ensure the service is safe – not just for the football community, but for all users.

“However, we also have to be honest that the progress we will be able to make alone would be magnified by greater interventions across the board.

“As long as racism exists offline, we will continue to see people try and bring these views online – it is a scourge technology cannot solve alone.

“Everyone has a role to play – including the government and the football authorities – and we will continue to call for a collective approach to combat this deep societal issue.”

Last week, police investigating the online racial abuse of England players following the Euro 2020 final have made 11 arrests so far.

The UK Football Policing Unit say its investigation team has received more than 600 reports from individuals, charities, clubs and other organisations across the country, and 207 were criminal in nature, with 34 accounts identified as being in the UK.

On Tuesday the Premier League announced new anti-discrimination rules to clamp down on abuse players are subject to.All 20 clubs have agreed to enforce new League-wide punishments, including bans, for any individual found to have behaved in a discriminatory or abusive way towards players, staff, officials, stewards or fans attending a Premier League match.