'What are they waiting for?': Anton Ferdinand demands social media companies stamp out racism

Watch Anton Ferdinand criticise social media companies for their failure to tackle racism on their platforms

Anton Ferdinand has asked if social media companies are waiting for a "high-profile footballer to kill themselves" before taking action against racism on their platforms during a Home Affairs Committee meeting where he harshly criticised their inaction.

The former West Ham and England defender was one of a number of high-profile former players speaking at the Home Affairs Committee where he described the mental health concerns of those facing racial abuse on social media.

Ferdinand said: "It is built to make you addicted to it, you can't put it down once you start scrolling.

"There is a mental health issue of not being able to escape it. My worry is, what are the social media companies waiting for?

"Are they waiting for a high-profile footballer to kill themselves, or a member of their family to commit suicide? Is that what they're waiting for? Because if they're waiting for that it's too late.

"This comes down to if (the social media companies) really want to make change? So far, their words are that they want to but their actions are different."

Ferdinand suggested similar technology behind predictive text should be used to identify the context of the words being used in a tweet, and if those words were deemed inappropriate the tweet would not be able to be sent.

Ferdinand also talked about the need for an account holder's identity to be known, at least to the platforms themselves.

The former West Ham and England defender spoke to the committee on Wednesday Credit: PA

"The rebuttal (from social media companies) to that is always that not everyone's got ID across the world," he said.

"OK, well you've got a duty of care to the people that are using your platform."

Ferdinand suggested there was another motive behind the platforms' inaction.

"They don't want to implement (technology to limit abuse), because if I retweet a racist tweet that has been put my way, the frenzy around it is monetary to them," he added.

He also felt there was a lack of understanding within the platforms' leadership teams.

"How many people at management level in these companies have an experience of being racially abused?" he asked.

"All I hear is, 'We will never understand'. You're a multi-billion dollar company - either have somebody who understands it or people within a senior management level (with) the understanding that can influence what's going on in the company."