Man United ace Lauren James urges social media giants to ‘wake up’ to online racist abuse threat

LAUREN JAMES has condemned the appalling racist abuse she has received on social media.  

And the Manchester United ace is urging online platforms to stop bigoted trolls creating anonymous accounts to target individuals. 

In her powerful Telegraph comment, the England starlet opened up on her pride in her skin colour and her experience of racism in the past. 

And the Red Devils playmaker, 19, wants platforms such as Facebook to prevent users who post vile messages from hiding behind fake identities. 

The Lionesses player – whose brother, Chelsea full-back Reece, also received online racist abuse – was sent monkey emojis from an Instagram user.

In The Telegraph James wrote: “Over the weekend was the first time that I’d experienced racist abuse on social media. 

“But it wasn’t the first time that I’d been made to feel aware of the colour of my skin. 

“Part of me has wondered if we as athletes can take control of this by coming offline, by deleting our social media accounts. 

“But the other part, the stronger part, says no. It would show the trolls that they are winning, and we can’t let that happen. 

“I’m 19 years old and I’m sitting here, writing about racist abuse. 

“All because of the colour of my skin. It is mad. I'm proud of my skin, I love my skin colour. But when I saw the comments on my Instagram feed, it hurt.

“Facebook have announced that they will take tougher sanctions on abusive messages. 

“It’s a great start but more needs to be done by social media platforms to put an end to this.”

James, who has been described by UEFA as one of Europe’s most talented young footballers, says she has been touched by the support she has received from within the game. 

This includes staunch backing from United Women's boss Casey Stoney who called for government and social media companies to take action. 

Officials at United have also come out strongly in support of James whose WSL team are set for a derby clash with Manchester City. 

On its web site, the club wrote: “Everyone at Manchester United is proud of Lauren for speaking out about her awful experiences, and will continue to support and back her in every way possible.” 

James is among a growing list of black footballers who have received foul messages online this term. 

Other players include Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Axel Tuanzebe from Man United’s Premier League side. 

In response to growing concern from players and the FA, Instagram says it is introducing new measures which include removing the accounts of people who send abusive messages. 

And the government says “huge fines” could be imposed on social media firms who fail to protect users racist abuse. 

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said: "For too long the world’s most popular and powerful social media companies have failed to tackle the stream of horrific racist attacks on their platforms.

"I welcome Instagram's improved policies but racist abuse is still a fact of life for too many people and more has to be done across the board to stamp it out."

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