Watford captain Troy Deeney accuses Social Media of encouraging racism

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Watford captain Troy Deeney has accused social media companies of encouraging racism on their platforms because they profit from the traffic it generates.

The 32-year-old English striker noted that he has suffered a series of racial abuse on social media, especially on Instagram. He recounted how he reported instances of racial abuse to Instagram but the social media company responded that what he identified as racial abuse was not offensive.

Troy Deeney went on to cite the racial abuse footballers were subjected to especially between March and June 2020 when football was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. He said he was stunned that a player as big as
Raheem Sterling could still be subjected to racial abuse.

Before Troy Deeney came up with his column on “The Sun” which accused social media companies of profiting from racism, Raheem Sterling has raised a similar notion. On his part, the Manchester City and the England international doubted the willingness of big social media companies to fight racism on their platforms.

Also, a study backed by Professional Footballers Association (PFA) in the United Kingdom, showed that at least 44 top football stars (both active and retired) received at least 3, 000 discriminatory messages between March and June 2020. And more than half of the messages were racially abusive contents.

“Do these companies even want to change things? Do they want to stop the abuse?” Deeney wrote.

“If a high-profile black player such as Raheem Sterling is experiencing racial abuse then everyone piles in and that drives traffic, which increases their advertising and profits.

“If I scroll down my Instagram replies, the tenth one down features a racist emoji – which is not unusual.

“So I follow the protocol, which is to block the user and report the message under the category of ‘hate speech and symbols’. Then I am told that an emoji with a monkey and a banana is not considered racist.

“I’ve even reported being called a ‘black c***’ and been told that doesn’t hate speech either. They need to change their algorithms to reflect what are obviously racist posts – but do they even want to?”

Watford captain, Troy Deeney who now plays with Watford in EFL Championship, and other Premier League stars have been very vocal against racial abuse not only against footballers but also against others in the society.

Watford captain Troy Deeney taking a knee before a Premier League match last season.
Watford captain Troy Deeney taking a knee before a Premier League match last season.

Last season, before Watford was relegated, Premier League gave a lot of attention to the Black Lives Matter movement which originated in the United States and gained more prominence after the brutal murder of Floyd George by a white police officer. Players replaced their names on their jerseys with the Black Lives Matter and agreed to take a knee before any live match in solidarity with those protesting against social injustice.

Though the names of the players have returned to their jerseys, kneeling before a Premier League match has continued, and players like Sterling and Troy Deeney have continued to speak against racism.