Facebook will only temporarily block person who abused Yan Dhanda

Phil Blanche, PA
·6-min read

Facebook says the person who racially abused Swansea’s Yan Dhanda will only be temporarily blocked from sending Instagram messages and not have their account shut down.

Dhanda suffered racist abuse following Swansea’s FA Cup defeat to Manchester City on Wednesday, becoming the latest in a long list of recent incidents of footballers receiving abuse on social media.

Football’s leaders have sent an open letter to social media companies calling on them to do more to stamp out abuse following the spate of recent incidents.

Instagram owner Facebook, responding to the Dhanda case, said: “We do not want racism and hate on our platforms.

“The person who sent this message has been restricted from sending messages on Instagram for a set period of time, and we will remove new accounts created to get around this restriction.

“We think it’s important people have the opportunity to learn from their mistakes but, per the new measures put in place this week, if they continue to break our rules this account will be removed.”

Dhanda responded to the racial abuse by writing on Twitter: “How can this STILL be happening in 2021? I’m so proud of who I am and representing Asians. More has to be done!#NOTORACISM”.

Swansea head coach Steve Cooper told the club website: “I’ve spent the last couple of days talking with Yan, making sure he is OK and making sure he knows he has the full support of everybody at the football club.

“The level of abuse he received was disgusting and I cannot put into words how angry I am that one of my players has suffered at the hands of somebody who thinks that racism is acceptable.

“What people don’t see is the aftermath of how people are affected. Yan was visibly upset and angry but it goes beyond that.

“His family are affected, those closest to him are hurt and the ripples go far wider than just a media headline.

“Yan and I have spoken several times about his heritage – and the pride he feels in representing his community is evident in everything he says and does. To that extent, he is a superb role model and someone who takes that responsibility seriously.

“Everybody at the club stands shoulder to shoulder with Yan against racism or any form of discrimination. It has been really tough for him but his strength of character will stand him in good stead.”

Mikel Arteta is the latest name to push for better protection against online abuse after revealing he and his family have been targeted recently.

The Arsenal manager said he no longer uses his Twitter account after receiving abuse on social media.

He joins a host of individuals across the men’s and women’s professional game who have been targeted.

Reece James, Marcus Rashford and Lauren James have all received abuse on social media
Reece James, Marcus Rashford and Lauren James have all received abuse on social media (Rui Vieira/Martin Rickett/PA)

Arteta said he prefers not to read anything about himself on social media after flagging abuse aimed at him and his family to Arsenal.

“I think if we would be reading everything that is written about us, probably we’d have to stay in bed a lot of days,” he said.

“I think we are all exposed in this industry to that and that’s why I prefer not to read because it would affect me personally much more the moment somebody wants to touch my family.

“Because it happened, the club was aware of it and we tried to do something about it. And that’s it. We have to live with it.

“It is not going to stop tomorrow, we know that, but medium, long-term can we do something about it? That’s what I am pushing for.”

Manchester United players Marcus Rashford, Axel Tuanzebe, Anthony Martial and Lauren James are among those who have been the targets of racist abuse on social media, along with West Brom’s Romaine Sawyers and Chelsea defender Reece James – Lauren’s brother.

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce said on Thursday he had been made aware of social media users wishing him dead, while referee Mike Dean asked not to officiate a Premier League game this weekend after he and his family received death threats.

Steve Bruce revealed he had received messages wishing him dead
Steve Bruce revealed he had received messages wishing him dead (Clive Brunskill/PA)

Although Arteta did not specify when the abuse about him was written, his Arsenal side went through a sticky patch of form before Christmas where there was more of an online clamour for him to be sacked.

Arteta said he could deal with the abuse and that it is “part of the job”, but was firmer when asked if it was different when it came to protecting those around him.

“We are lucky enough as well that the club is very supportive, we do what we have to do when those things happened,” he said.

“It isn’t going to go tomorrow, but medium and long-term can we do something about it to protect more the people who are involved in the game and in other industries where it happens the same way.

“I am not the only one who is suffering these kind of things, I think when you are winning everything is beautiful and you are incredible and you are the best coach and when you lose it is the complete opposite.

“That is the reality and it is not pleasant. When it goes personal against me I can take it but when the family is involved then it is a different story.”

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has suggested national governments may need to step in if social media companies do not clamp down on the problem.

Guardiola said: “Maybe Twitter, as a system, should control it a little bit and ban, cancel the accounts when someone is accused of something like this. It is disgraceful, we know that.

“Maybe Twitter, or the governments you have to involve. It’s rising again and more and more.”