The Instagram user who racially abused Swansea player Yan Dhanda will not be banned from the social media network, a lenient policy that has drawn criticism for lacking rigor.
Instagram owner Facebook told The Associated Press on Friday it does “not want racism and hate on our platforms” but would let the account in question stay active as long as the abuse did not persist for an unspecified number of times. Only the ability to send messages will be restricted for an unstated period of time.
Police in south Wales have responded more robustly, with officers investigating and calling it a “priority” to tackle hate crime.
Dhanda was targeted for the online racism by the user, who has not been identified, after his soccer team's FA Cup loss to Manchester City on Wednesday.
“The person who sent this message has been restricted from sending messages for a set period of time, and we will remove new accounts created to get around this restriction,” Facebook said in an emailed statement to the AP. "We think it’s important people have the opportunity to learn from their mistakes but, per the new measures put in place this week, if they continue to break our rules this account will be removed.”
England and Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford, who has also received racist messages, wants abusive accounts immediately deactivated.
“If they see anyone that’s being racially abused or abused in any way their accounts should be deleted straight away," Rashford told broadcaster Sky Sports. “That’s one way of getting rid of most of it, if not all of it.”
Rashford has used social media over the last year to raise awareness of child poverty and pressure the government into providing free school meals during the pandemic.
Dhanda, who played in the youth ranks at Liverpool, said “more has to be done” by social media companies to delete the hate before discovering the account abusing him would not be suspended immediately.
“How can this STILL be happening in 2021? I’m so proud of who I am and representing Asians," he wrote on Twitter.
The English Football Association has written this week to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter counterpart Jack Dorsey asking for them to do more to eradicate racism from the platforms.
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