Racist trolls condemned for "disgusting behaviour" following England's loss, but governments do little to stop it

Because social media platforms are not considered to be publishers, they're not legally liable for their content

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      The English Football Association, a.k.a. the FA, has denounced online racist abuse directed against some of the national team's players following a July 11 loss in the Euro 2020 final.

      After Italy defeated England on penalty kicks, the trolls took to their keyboards.

      That led to the following statement from the FA:

      "We strongly condemn all forms of discrimination and are appalled by the online racism that has been aimed at some of our England players on social media.

      "We could not be clearer that anyone behind such disgusting behaviour is not welcome in following the team. 

      "We will do all we can to support the players affected while urging the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible.

      "We will continue to do everything we can to stamp discrimination out of the game, but we implore government to act quickly and bring in the appropriate legislation so this abuse has real life consequences. 

      "Social media companies need to step up and take accountability and action to ban abusers from their platforms, gather evidence that can lead to prosecution and support making the platforms free from this type of abhorrent abuse."

      Facebook, Twitter, and Google have frequently declared that they are not legally liable for racist or defamatory content on their platforms because they say they are not publishers. And they've gotten a free pass in America from section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which offers legal immunity to providers of interactive computer services.

      But it's unclear whether they can be shielded from lawsuits in other countries that don't have this legislation.

      That notion of legislated immunity was successfully challenged last year in Australia by a lawyer who won a $40,000 award for defamation against Google.

      Meanwhile in Vancouver, billionaire businessman Frank Giustra is suing Twitter in B.C. Supreme Court, alleging that the social-media company is liable for defamatory tweets about him. Naturally, Twitter has argued that it's not responsible for the content on its platform.

      To date, the Canadian government has refused to introduce legislation to make social-media giants legally liable for content posted by users, despite calls to do so from Green MP Elizabeth May. 

      Instead, the government passed Bill C-10, which amends the Broadcasting Act. This will give the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission authority to issue orders regarding foreign streaming services.

      Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guildbeault stated in May that it will not apply to individual users of social-media platforms.

      This likely means the racist free-for-all on Twitter and Facebook can continue unabated in Canada.

      British prime minister Boris Johnson has also not introduced legislation in the U.K. making social-media giants legally responsible for racist content on their platforms.

      He blamed the trolls, rather than his government's inaction, for the racist hatred directed against the English soccer players.

      "Those responsible for this appalling abuse should be ashamed of themselves," Johnson tweeted.

      Prince William has also condemned the abuse, saying it "sickened him".

      Metropolitan police in the U.K. have launched an investigation into the racist posts. In Manchester, police are investigating the defacing of a mural celebrating Marcus Rashford, one of the soccer players who's been targeted with racist trolling.