PFA slam Instagram’s response to Raheem Sterling suffering racist abuse

The Professional Footballers' Association have hit out at an ‘insufficient’ statement from Instagram following racist abuse aimed at Manchester City and England forward Raheem Sterling.

The 26-year-old was the target of the vile messages following their Champions League progression over PSG, just days after football united over a social media blackout.

While Facebook, who own Instagram, have stated that they took action to remove the comment and sanctioned the account that posted it, the PFA have insisted that it is not enough.

That comes after Sterling himself called for action last year, stating that social media platforms need to step up and show “real leadership” in tackling online abuse.

The PFA wrote: “The statement today from Instagram about the racist abuse received by Raheem Sterling is insufficient.

“’Tools to help prevent people seeing abusive messages from strangers’ is not the same as stopping the abuse from being sent in the first place.

“If platforms can stop it from being seen, they should stop it from being sent.

“We are asking why social networks continually choose to provide a platform for racist abuse?”

Facebook, which owns Instagram, had said: “The racist abuse sent to Raheem Sterling is unacceptable and we do not want it on Instagram. We have removed the comment and taken action against the account that posted it.

“As part of our ongoing work in this space, we’ll soon be rolling out new tools to help prevent people seeing abusive messages from strangers.

“No single thing will fix this challenge overnight but we’re committed to doing what we can to keep our community safe from abuse.”

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  • The incident comes after a study commissioned by the PFA, and published last October, showed that more than 3,000 explicitly abusive messages were sent to the 44 players they studied.

    Adding that 50% were aimed at Adebayo Akinfenwa, Wilfried Zaha and Sterling.

    Sterling said at the time: “I don’t know how many times I need to say this, but football and the social media platforms need to step up, show real leadership and take proper action in tackling online abuse.

    “The technology is there to make a difference, but I’m increasingly questioning if there is the will.”

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