talkSPORT’S Chief Executive Scott Taunton has written to Twitter to express the station’s dissatisfaction with Twitter’s apparent lack of support of presenter Stan Collymore following a series of abusive messages posted to the presenter on Twitter this weekend.
In addition, the station is to stop promoting Twitter and its Twitter accounts until the station feels that Twitter is responding appropriately. No Twitter mentions will appear on air on talkSPORT, in print in SPORT Magazine or on talkSPORT’s digital platforms.
Former footballer Stan received a series of offensive messages – including death threats and racists tweets – that were posted after he suggested Liverpool striker Luis Suarez cheated by diving during last Saturday’s match against Aston Villa. While a number of the tweets are subject to police investigation, Stan accuses Twitter of not doing enough to combat the abuse.
talkSPORT has called for Twitter to pledge to cooperate fully and expediently with police whenever the company is asked for information on racist/homophobic/sexist/anti-disability/anti-semitic hate messages.
The UTV station has asked that Twitter acts immediately to address complaints about offensive hate messages and that these illegal tweets are deleted as soon as possible after Twitter receives a complaint. talkSPORT has also asked that filtering is put in place to prevent hate language being used in tweets.
Scott Taunton, talkSPORT Chief Executive, said: “We are dismayed at the lack of response and perceived inaction by Twitter. Racist or abusive messages of this nature are illegal and unacceptable.
“We have more than three million Twitter followers across our accounts but we will not promote these until we are satisfied that Twitter is doing its utmost to prevent abuse of this nature. We have a duty of care to all our staff and presenters and until I am satisfied that Twitter is treating this seriously we will no longer promote Twitter accounts or use tweets on-air.
“It seems inconceivable that a hi-tech company with a market capitalisation of $30bn appears incapable of preventing racist and abusive tweets being broadcast across its platform.”
In response, Twitter blogged: “Direct, targeted abuse and specific threats of violence are against our rules. You can let us know if you see abusive Tweets by using the new “Report Tweet” button or through our online forms. Our Trust and Safety team works 24 hours a day to respond to reports and we are increasing the size of this team to make our response time even faster.
“We also have a clear process for working with the police and are in ongoing communication with relevant UK police forces to make sure they are aware of our policies.”