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Middlesbrough call out Twitter over response to club making aware racist tweet about player

Middlesbrough call out Twitter over their response via email to the club who were making aware of racist tweet about their player.

The Championship outfit their account on Monday afternoon, highlighting just how bad social media giants are at dealing with racism on their platforms.

The abuser, Sweatleaf @Sweetie37343160, responded to Middlesbrough’s full time tweet which included a picture of Chuba Akpom, writing “idiot n****”.

This caught the attention of Boro, who in turn emailed Twitter Support, clearly wanting action taken, however were seemingly left disappointed with the response they got.

Twitter wrote back: “Hello, Thanks for reaching out. We reviewed the reported content, and didn’t find it to be in violation of the Twitter rules. In this case, no action will be taken at this time.”


Cleveland Police are investigating an incident of social media abuse aimed at our player Chuba Akpom after Saturday’s Championship game against Bristol City.

The offensive Tweet, made within minutes of the final whistle, was immediately reported to the Police and to Twitter.

Twitter’s response, as detailed below, was “We reviewed the reported content, and didn’t find it to be in violation of the Twitter rules. In this case, no action will be taken at this time.”

The club has a zero tolerance policy towards hate crime and discrimination of all forms.

The Police investigation is ongoing.


A new report has revealed the scale of abuse targeting footballers on Twitter amid concerns about racist and hostile messages on social media.

Research by Ofcom and the Alan Turing Institute found that while the vast majority of tweets sent to footballers are positive, around 3.5% of them are abusive.

The study analysed more than 2.3 million tweets directed at Premier League players over the first five months of the 2021-22 season and found that almost 60,000 were abusive.

It also revealed that 418 of the 618 players analysed – two thirds – received at least one abusive tweet, with 8% of that abuse aimed at a protected characteristic such as their race or gender.

Some of the abuse was sent in the aftermath of the Euro 2020 finals – in which England lost the final on penalties to Italy – and where there was much discussion about the role that anonymous accounts played.

England manager Gareth Southgate said that much of the abuse was originating from abroad, although Twitter responded that “the UK was – by far – the largest country of origin” for racist abuse sent to England footballers.

The social media company added that 99% of the accounts which it suspended over the abuse were not anonymous, although it did not disclose how many accounts were suspended.

According to the new study the majority of users who send abusive tweets to players are not necessarily hiding behind anonymous accounts as they are also active on the platform for other reasons and regularly send non-abusive tweets to players too.

A spokesperson for Twitter said: “We are committed to combating abuse and as outlined in our Hateful Conduct Policy, we do not tolerate the abuse or harassment of people on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation.

“As acknowledged in the report, this type of research is only possible because our public API is open and accessible to all. However, our publicly accessible API does not take into account the range of safeguards we put in place, so this does not completely reflect the user experience.

“We have not been provided with the accounts, Tweets or dataset included in this report so we are unable to comment on these specifically,” they added.

“Today, more than 50% of violative content is surfaced by our automated systems, further reducing the burden on individuals to report abuse.

“While we have made recent strides in giving people greater control to manage their safety, we know there is still work to be done.

“This is a company-wide priority as our product, policy and engineering teams continue to work at scale and pace to build a healthier Twitter,” they added.

Twitter users reacted as Middlesbrough call out Twitter over their response to the club after making aware the racist tweet about a player of theirs…

@redarmyrambler: @Twitter and @cakpom #EveryoneBleedsRed #NoToRacism #TwatterDontHaveAClue #ChubaAkpom

@tylercroal: well done @Boro

@Principaldr2004: How the fuck has this not been a breach of Twitter’s T&S?@elonmusksort your shit out

@MattyNixon92: @elonmusk sort this please. Absolutely disgusting.

@Boro_Brick_Road: 👏👏 well done Boro, call it out every time – there is no place for racism in/around/towards our family #EnoughlsEnough

@NorthernFaerie: Disgraceful @TwitterSupport

@weameo: Shocking isn’t it… I guess because some people refer to each other as it Twitter feels in all circumstances its ok.. its not!!!

@BristolOli: Fair play for calling that out – absolute Scum

@SnapsByJordan: His entire account is racist comments behind an anonymous name and picture… disgusting

@thekevinmuldoon: @GaryLineker @BBCSport @talkSPORT @FourFourTwo @MirrorFootball @FootballRamble @EFL @kickitout expect this to be widely condemned and in your headlines soon – twitter has bowed out of kick it out and thinks explicit racism is okay now.

@ElliottSAFC: Disgusting from both the individual and twitter. Far more needs done as this now seems to be acceptable from Fifa and Social Media operators. There is no place far racism in any form.

@BarryCellnet: Hello @elonmusk 👋 instead of flying off to Mars, can you help us sort racism out on this planet first?

@SimmsSZN: Twitters changing for the worst uno

@labay88: Twitters response 🤷‍♂️🙈

@justcalledtosay: My heads fallen off after that response from @twitter 🤯

@MattPhilip_boro: There are so many racist tweets on their account. Reported a fair few and would ask people to do the same. The account will get shut down and rightly so, the man is deranged.

@RoperAJ95: Disgrace this. Yet I get banned for calling someone a c*nt. Priorities firmly in check by those who run this platform, clearly.

@BrokenMark92: This is a joke. How can calling someone the N word not be violation of @Twitter rules?!

@Colin_B_1970: An utterly abhorrent side effect of Elon Musk taking over Twitter is that anyone using racist language will not have any action taken against them by this platform. Twitter has always been a shithole full of scum but now it’s far worse.

@CMParrish1: Disgusting behaviour. If social media companies aren’t going to take action, I want to see more naming and shaming. Hard with anonymous accounts, but seen many examples of people messaging instagram accounts, thinking the sportspeople won’t name them! No hiding from racism.

@AdamGoldsack: Racism and racists have ZERO place in society. I will block anyone who supports this type of behaviour and anyone who follows these types of people. #SayNoToRacism #racism

@Boro_Breakdown: Good move calling out this abhorrent racist abuse. No place for it anywhere. 😡

@Anthony_S29: What encouragement does this give people to report this type of behaviour. Something has to be done to stamp it out.

@ConorWilkos: Fair play @Boro 👏 Disgusting that Twitter can’t pick up on this

@Wards187: Jesus Christ…. @Twitter confirming calling someone the N word is okay… I thought I’d seen it all before

@WBAFC_TOM: @Twitter you’re a joke. How you dont find it against the rules/law is beyond me. You are basically supporting, therefore you are racists too.

@LieutenantSloth: Permanent suspension if you make a parody account though – real issues!

@MattyHC5: You know what im proper sick of these fake profiles with little divvy racists trying to be edgy and abuse people online to get a kick out of their shit life. Proper low level scum that need a good slap.

@davboro123: Elon Musks twitter everybody! Embarrassing

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