Wilfred Zaha is one of many sportspersons of colour who have been victims of racism in world sports, be it on the pitch or in the digital world. A couple of weeks back, the Crystal Palace forward had received racial abuses on social media. Now, the player has lashed out at the two major social media platforms, Twitter and Instagram, for failing to counter xenophobia.
On 12th July, Wilfred Zaha took to Twitter to share a couple of racial threats he received on Instagram. The messages had come from an Aston Villa fan, before Palace’s match against the Birmingham club.
Woke up to this today. pic.twitter.com/Zal0F96htJ
— Wilfried Zaha (@wilfriedzaha) July 12, 2020
After Zaha’s tweet was aired, West Midlands Police found in their investigation that the messages were sent by a 12 year old, and he was taken into custody. Villa also imposed a lifetime ban on the perpetrator.
However, the striker claims that both the social media platforms have done nothing substantial to counter such activities online.
Wilfred Zaha accuses Twitter, Instagram for failing to counter racism
In a recent interview with CNN Sport, Wilfred Zaha revealed that the underage Villa fan was just one of many people that he had received racial abuses during that week.
“Even after the 12-year-old, I reported 50 accounts that I was racially abused from that week,” Zaha said in the interview.
The Ivory Coast international further stated that the reported accounts return with new ones, lamenting that the platforms require no ID proofs to make new accounts.
“What happens? Those accounts get blocked then they just make a new one straight afterwards?” the 27 year old continued, “With everything that we register for these days, we have to give some sort of I.D. Why is it not the same for Instagram, or Twitter?”
“Because that’s where people tend to say what they really feel about people, no matter how hurtful or racist it is,” he added.
Zaha further said that he had to censor the xenophobic slurs himself, and called out the social media firms for being inadequate in taking steps against it.
“I’ve gone through my Instagram account and there’s a section where you can block certain words,” Zaha went on, “I’ve tried myself because the social media platforms are obviously not doing enough.”
“You can register as a nine-year-old on Instagram and they wouldn’t know. What age is it to register? Thirteen. The boy who abused me is twelve. How does he even get on there? What checks are they making?” he concluded.