Hamilton won the British Grand Prix last Sunday at Silverstone despite a ten second penalty after a collision with his fiercest rival Max Verstappen which resulted in the downfall of the Dutch driver.
Her team, Red Bull Racing, said they were “disgusted and saddened” by the abuse directed at Hamilton. Their statement read: “Although we are fierce rivals on the right track, we are all united against racism. We condemn racist abuse of any kind towards our team, our competitors and our fans. There is never any excuse for this, there is certainly no place for it in our sport and those responsible should be held accountable. “
The legislative process for the Government of Westminster’s online safety bill has just started and, while it is expected to force social media companies to face abuse when passed, meanwhile racists continue to peddle their bile, knowing they can afford it. protection, either on condition of anonymity or due to the inability of social media companies to take appropriate action.
Facebook, owner of Instagram, said that “the racist abuse directed at Hamilton during and after the British Grand Prix is unacceptable and we have removed a number of comments from Instagram.”
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The company also highlighted a number of security features it is deploying “which may mean that no one has to see this type of abuse” and, revealingly, added that “nothing will fix this. overnight challenge, but we are committed to working to keep our community safe from abuse ”.
The main problem is that social media platforms have not been regulated in the same way as more traditional media because they are not considered publishers or broadcasters.
Facebook, with its two billion users, is overwhelmed by the sheer volume of content and videos uploaded in real time by anyone who wants it and the algorithms it deploys to search for offensive material are not sophisticated enough to cope with it. . investment.
Facebook, however, is still being called out for failing to take action against the attackers.
It was reported that the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) tracked 31 accounts that abused Hamilton and reported them to the social media platform, but after they remained live, Imran Ahmed, the CCDH CEO, said it was “beyond belief, after all the promises made last week by social media companies, that Instagram has taken no action against its users who have now abused by Lewis Hamilton. By not taking action against racism against England players last week, Instagram has created a culture of impunity for racists. He has publicly promised to issue automatic lifetime bans when he has clear and compelling evidence of serious racial hatred. “
It is clear that the failure of social media platforms to take action against racist abusers has only served to embolden them rather than deter them. It takes action – not fine words!