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HENRY SPEAKS OUT

Thierry Henry has demanded social media companies get serious about online hate – and backed draft proposals to jail abusers.

The France and Arsenal legend said the latest cascade of bile directed at Wilf Zaha, which saw Instagram telling the Crystal Palace striker to report each post individually before action could be considered, represented a new low.

Henry said: “These companies seem unwilling to act.

“When they want to do something, like when someone posts a video that is a breach of copyright, then they have an algorithm for that, because it might impact their pockets.

“But when it comes to taking care of other people, being human, nothing happens because it doesn’t generate money. What happened with Wilf Zaha shows that, again.

“These companies are just not willing to do anything and there have to be laws that make them more accountable for what goes on their platforms.”

Henry, speaking at the Web Summit conference in Lisbon, said he had persuaded Puma to join the “Game Of Our Lives” online activist programme.

He added: “I would support jail sentences for these people who abuse players.

“If these things took place on the street, the perpetrator would be arrested and charged, to stop them but it seems that, at the moment, you can do whatever you want on social media. That is a massive mistake and it has to stop.”

Henry publicly quit all social media in March, explaining: “The companies aren’t doing anything near what’s required for us to feel safe.

“They don’t stop racism, homophobia, bullying or harassment. If you’re a player, you learn to scroll down the comments very  fast because there have been no real efforts to change things.

“There are no proper checks, anyone, any age, can set up an alias with a fake email address. To be fair to the Premier League in England, they have raised these issues and kept on raising them, to fight this online hate.

“The FA, too, everyone in football, has been responsive. They listen to what the players are saying. But the players are still asking for it to stop. It must change.”

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