Financial News

  • 23 January 2014, 12:39

Stan Collymore Accuses Twitter Over Abuse

Former England striker Stan Collymore has said police are "banging their heads against the wall" because Twitter are not doing enough to stop abuse on their site.

Police are investigating a series of death threats and racist abuse online issued to Collymore on the social media site after he suggested Liverpool striker Luis Suarez cheated by diving during last Saturday's match against Aston Villa.

Collymore retweeted some of the abuse he has received since the match to his 503,000 followers and called on Twitter to take action.

And speaking to Sky News, he said: "I've no problem with honestly held opinion. If people think I'm an idiot, they're more than welcome to say. They're also more than welcome, within the laws of the United Kingdom, to bring up my past.

"That is genuine use of freedom of speech. But freedom of speech means that if anyone walks past me now and calls me some of the things, or makes some of the threats (that have been made to me on Twitter), they would be arrested.

"The police are banging their heads against a brick wall, having to make requests to get reports and profiles processed. Six weeks later I'm still waiting.

"That means Twitter abuse operates in a bubble, a vacuum."

He said he believed financial factors were preventing action being taken by those issuing abuse on Twitter.

"I believe that the number of active (Twitter) users is monetised, so they would much rather have a billion active users who can say whatever the hell they like, rather than spend money on algorithms,scripts, age verification, tying an account to a phone number, or a credit card, which would of course decrease the numbers," he said.

He had previously written on the site: "In the last 24 hours I've been threatened with murder several times, demeaned on my race, and many of these accounts are still active. Why?

"I accuse Twitter directly of not doing enough to combat racist/homophobic /sexist hate messages, all of which are illegal in the UK."

He added later: "Several Police forces have been fantastic. Twitter haven't. Dismayed."

Later the 42-year-old said he was in contact with Staffordshire Police about the abuse.

He tweeted: "Staffordshire Police coming, again. Just the 5th time. Pity twitter aren't interested.

"Police take all complaints seriously,whoever it is. I've waited 6 weeks for twitter to provide information to Police. Yet to respond."

Collymore received support from fellow broadcaster Piers Morgan, who was also abused online after he called on Twitter and the police to do more following the abuse to the ex-Liverpool forward.

Morgan tweeted: "I repeat, racist abuse & death threats both criminal offences in UK. So keep spewing it, trolls, and I will have you ALL dealt with."

West Midlands Police confirmed on its Twitter page that Staffordshire Police was investigating "alleged abusive tweets to Stan Collymore" and urged people to block and report abuse at www.report-it.org.uk.

A statement issued by Twitter said: "Direct, targeted abuse and specific threats of violence are against our rules. You can let us know if you see abusive Tweets by using the new 'Report Tweet' button or through our online forms.

"We also have a clear process for working with the police and are in ongoing communication with relevant UK police forces to make sure they are aware of our policies.

"Twitter is an open communications platform. Our priority is that users are able to express themselves, within acceptable limits and, of course, within the law.

"We cannot stop people from saying offensive, hurtful things on the internet or on Twitter.

"But we take action when content is reported to us that breaks our rules or is illegal. We have features that allow people to block accounts from following them, unfollow accounts they don't want to see and filter the replies they receive - to put people in control of what they see on Twitter.

"The Internet allows people all over the world to share ideas and debate important issues. But it can also be misused. We will continue to work closely with organisations like the UK Safer Internet Centre and others to promote digital citizenship and the responsible use of technology."

Talksport, Collymore's employers, subsequently announced it would be boycotting Twitter in protest at its response to the ex-footballer's complaint.

:: Watch Sky News live on television, on Sky channel 501, Virgin Media channel 602, Freeview channel 82 and Freesat channel 202.

Advertisement