Southampton accuse Instagram of allowing ‘hatred to breed and fester’ as the club report racist messages sent to Kyle Walker-Peters to the police, after the full-back was targeted following their goalless draw at Man United
- Kyle Walker-Peters was targeted by a string of racist comments on Instagram
- Former Saints midfielder Alex Jankewitz received similar abuse two years ago
- Southampton criticsed social media companies for a lack of meaningful action
Southampton have reported a string of online racist messages sent to Kyle Walker-Peters to the police and hit out at social media companies ‘who allow such hatred to breed and fester.’
And the Football Association have also condemned the abuse and reiterated calls for stronger action and tangible changes to be made.
Defender Walker-Peters was targeted on Instagram following Southampton’s goalless draw at Manchester United and some of the sickening comments still remained underneath one of his posts on Monday.
Southampton have been in contact with Instagram who have offered support to Walker-Peters and his team-mates.
They also insisted a ‘a number’ of the offending comments have been removed and vowed to continue to take action against any that break their rules.
Kyle Walker-Peters was targeted online after Southampton’s draw with Manchester United
Southampton have reported the messages to police and criticised social media companies
Former Southampton midfielder Alex Jankewitz was similarly subjected to racist abuse after being sent off at Old Trafford two years ago.
‘In February 2021 the club made a statement about one of our young players receiving abhorrent racial abuse following a match against Manchester United.
‘More than two years on, we find ourselves in the exact same position: disgusted and disappointed in the behaviour of those online who lower themselves to abusing players for the colour of their skin.
‘What is equally frustrating is the lack of meaningful action in those two years from the social media platforms who allow such hatred to breed and fester.
‘As we have said before, Southampton Football Club fights every day to remove such people from our sport and our community in order to protect our players, our staff, Southampton fans and those football supporters around the world who recognise and celebrate the diversity that makes football special.
‘We have forwarded the messages concerned to Hampshire Police in keeping with our normal processes when dealing with these cases.
‘We have also reported these posts to the social media platforms involved.
‘We can only hope that they finally pay attention to what continues to be a major problem and that we do not find ourselves repeating these words in another two years’ time.’
A Hampshire Police spokesperson said: ‘We are working with Southampton FC following a report of racist abuse directed at a player following their game against Manchester United. We are liaising with the club and enquiries into this matter are ongoing.’
Former Southampton midfielder Alex Jankewitz was also the victim of abuse two years ago
A statement from The FA read: ‘We strongly condemn the racist online abuse that continues to be directed towards players across our game. We urge social media companies and authorities to take the strongest possible action and we will not stop challenging this issue until tangible changes are made.’
Meta, who own Instagram, insisted a range of features have been introduced on the platform following feedback from players and other public figures in a bid to help keep them safe.
These include an option to filter out posts containing certain abusive words, hide comments and requests from certain followers and the ability to turn off requests from unknown followers.
A Meta spokesperson said: ‘We don’t want racist abuse on Instagram, and we’ve removed a number of comments for breaking our rules. No one thing will fix this overnight, but we’ll continue to work to help protect our community from abuse and respond to valid legal requests to support police investigations.’