Top footballers back duty of care laws to combat online abuse on social media

Charles Hymas
·2 min read

Top footballers subjected to abuse on social media have backed duty of care laws to combat online harms.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson and England player Tyrone Mings - who spoke out about the vile racist abuse he has suffered online - met Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden to discuss plans that would place a duty of care on tech giants to combat illegal and harmful content online.

Mr Mings, Aston Villa and England, revealed how he was regularly called “n*****” on social media and was bombarded with abuse online after one on-field incident was criticised by commentator Gary Nevill.

“It was Personal stuff: derogatory terms, offensive language, you’re this and you’re that, you shouldn’t be alive, this is what’s going to happen to your family. It’s far too easy to target people on social media,” he said.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “To hear players talk about the level of abuse they have faced was humbling. Their input today has strengthened my resolve to bring in new laws to ensure there is much greater accountability from the social media platforms for dealing with such problems.

“As we shape the “Future of Football” and look towards our football governance review, we must tackle issues around discrimination and lack of equality of opportunity head on. I am grateful to this group of players for sharing their experiences and expertise to help the Government’s work.”

Mr Henderson said: “I am personally really pleased to see the Government and DCMS leading to make change with the Online Harms Bill. Just like the leadership diversity code it’s the start of a journey of change, which is welcomed.”

Mr Mings said: “I was pleased that the Secretary of State wanted to engage with, and listen to, the thoughts of us as players and ex players. Hopefully this adds context when he attempts to deliver change on behalf of us.”