Prince William is to spearhead a new movement to force social media giants to take urgent action on sickening racism and hate speech online.
The Duke of Cambridge has vowed to personally broker a deal between big tech firms and campaigners after being “shocked and appalled” at the lack of action to tackle an “epidemic of abuse”.
As President of the Football Association, Wills will also back calls for a new regular working group between the social media companies, the FA and football leagues after a spate of abuse directed at top players.
William, 38, has told campaigners he is committed to using his experience from lobbying the world’s leading social media companies on cyberbullying and has promised to help out “in any way I can”.
In a recent emergency meeting as part of his role with the FA, William said “enough was enough” after several high profile black footballers including Manchester United star Marcus Rashford revealed they were abused online.
The future king said: “It makes me so angry that people are allowed to act like this.
“I’ve had enough of the excuses, it has gone on for too long.
“This is on every one of us and we must come together to stamp it out.”
Sanjay Bhandari, chairman of the Kick It Out campaign, praised the Duke’s intervention, saying: “William is a powerful ally in the fight against racism and extremism and together we can make a difference to stop this epidemic of abuse.
“He is extremely passionate and I have really been encouraged by how he wants to use his experience by challenging the tech giants to get their house in order.
“He knows the effect this is having on the victims.”
The Mirror can also reveal that the FA is to widen its inquiry into hate speech online.
The latest development follows top referee Mike Dean requesting not to officiate a Premier League game this weekend following a spate of abuse and death threats on social media after handing out two controversial red cards.
A source said: “The Duke is not only committed to this course of action within his role at the FA, but also feels this is part of his wider duty and ongoing campaign to make the online world a safe place for everyone.”
William set up the Cyberbullying Taskforce in 2016 to support young people and their families, but later admitted he was left disappointed at the lackluster response by industry leaders.
In a speech to highlight Anti-Bullying Week in 2018, William piled further pressure on the tech giants, saying: “Technology companies still have a great deal to learn about the responsibilities that come with significant power.
“Their self-image is so grounded in their positive power for good that they seem unable to engage in constructive discussion about the social problems they are creating.”
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden, this week echoed William’s rallying cry, saying: “Online racist abuse of footballers is absolutely shocking and must stop. Enough is enough.
He said the Government will “change the law to make social media companies more accountable for what happens on their platforms” after a number of footballers were racially abused online.
Dowden said: “If you fail to enforce your own terms and conditions, stand up to your duty of care, then we will impose fines and we’ll take the power to impose very large fines – indeed up to 10 percent of global turnover.
“For some of these big tech firms that’s running to billions of pounds.”
-- to www.mirror.co.uk