Facebook and Twitter put profit before principles – but fight must continue

Football bosses have decided to gang up on social media billionaires in a bid to combat the online hate that is blighting our game and our lives.

Fair enough, because desperate times call for desperate measures – and these are truly desperate times we are now living in.

Some of the vile bile being aimed at players, managers and now referees on social media platforms is nothing short of criminal.

What the hell is wrong with the people?

But despite crimes being committed on a daily basis, those perpetrating them continue to roam free and go unpunished for comments that, if made in the street, would result in an arrest and probable conviction.

So the likes of the Premier League, FA, EFL, Kick-It-Out, LMA and PFA have decided to go down the route of strength in numbers and written a joint letter to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter supremo Jack Dorsey, accusing them of ignoring the problem and demanding it stops now.

Good luck with that, because this is the same Dorsey who continues to find new ways to defend hateful speech on the platform that's made him a multi-millionaire.

The same Dorsey who once refused to condemn or delete an inciteful tweet from former President Donald Trump that sparked widespread death threats against congresswoman Ilham Omar. He insisted it didn't violate Twitter rules.

Twitter has previously been reticent to censor Trump's tweets, claiming that blocking or removing tweets by an elected world leader "would hide important information people should be able to see and debate."

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  • Zuckerberg, meanwhile, whose company also owns Instagram and has become one of the richest people in the world, is the man who owns the same Facebook platform that got exposed for spreading fake news, which was used to incite genocide in Myanmar.

    Dorsey and Zuckerberg are two of the most powerful pioneers on the planet, but continue to put profit before principles during a time when people of the world should be uniting instead of trying to destroy each other, for no other reason than being uneducated, bigoted and socially inept.

    But while the spotlight continues to shine on the rich and famous, it has to be said that we all need to take more responsibility when it comes to fanning the flames of hatred online.

    Hands up who took to Twitter to lambast referee Mike Dean last week within seconds of sending off Tomas Soucek in West Ham's game with Fulham?

    That's the equivalent of setting fire to a barn full of straw and then standing well back to watch the blaze engulf its victim.

    We might see Twitter and Facebook do little or nothing to stop the racists and other discriminators. We might see little or nothing change because the sad truth is some people don't want to change.

    But the fight must go on – and it involves us all. So next time you're about to hit 'send' – stop and think of the consequences.

    Elstone delivered nothing more tangible than a false dawn

    Robert Elstone could be forgiven for feeling like a rat that's just deserted a sinking ship.

    Elstone has resigned as executive chairman of Super League barely a month before the new season begins – and at the start of a year that will see England host the World Cup.

    There should be much for rugby league to look forward to – but Elstone clearly sees a different picture.

    The 57-year-old arrived in the sport in 2018 having spent 13 years as chief executive of Everton.

    He swapped a world rolling in cash with one in desperate need of more – and was tasked with increasing the valuation of the competition to broadcasters.

    But when the TV contract deal is negotiated and renewed at the end of 2021, it will be for less than the current one, with our without Elstone leading the talks.

    Elstone oversaw an organisation that chose to break free from the Rugby Football League in the belief it could do a better job of running the sport at the highest level.

    But it thought wrong.

    Elstone might have had to grapple with the huge problems Covid-19 caused, but the fact remains that Super League is becoming less popular, visionary and diverse as the years roll on.

    He promised much, but delivered nothing more tangible than a false dawn.

    Whoever succeeds him will face the same challenge – which is to somehow make one of the greatest games more united and popular with a much younger audience. Good luck with that.

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    GOOD WEEK FOR…

    Tom Brady – Won an astonishing seventh Super Bowl then spent the week celebrating on his £2m boat. Where did it all go wrong eh?

    Joe Root – No-one has captained England to more Test wins than him.

    Lewis Hamilton – The F1 champion has finally agreed a new deal with Mercedes after agreeing to compromise on his demands.

    BAD WEEK FOR…

    Gareth Bale – Didn't even make the Tottenham squad for the FA Cup defeat at Everton as his return to the north London club turns into a total disaster.

    Ollie Lawrence – Found himself dropped by Eddie Jones for yesterday's clash with Italy at Twickenham, after being made the scapegoat for England's shock loss to Scotland.

    Danka Kovinic – The Montenegrin tennis star went 14 days in quarantine ahead of the Australian Open – then got knocked out in just 44 minutes following a 6-0, 6-0 defeat to Ashleigh Barty.

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