One of the greatest social media platforms, Facebook is “horrified” at the continued online abuse aimed to footballers and hence announced tougher measures to tackle the issue.

Several Premier League footballers including Marcus Rashford, Axel Tuanzebe, Romaine, Reece James and his sister, Lauren James have been subjected to online abusive messages in recent weeks.

As a result, the Football Association has called for action from the government which has since stated social media companies could face “large fines” potentially amounting to “billions of pounds”. This is if they fail to tackle abuse on their platforms.

Therefore, Facebook is changing rules governing direct messaging on Instagram, a platform it also owns. It will disable the accounts of those found to have repeatedly sent abusive private messages on Instagram.

What Change Will Occure on Instagram?

Footballers past and present have called for social media users to present verification documents when creating accounts. This is to enable tracing suppose the users breach the rules.

According to Facebook, this measure will prove challenging in communities where such documents would not be readily available.

“If we were to insist on using government ID or Passport details, we would be barred access to the very people who use our platforms to build communities. So, we are very conscious we allow for that access”. Said Madzingira, the UK head of content policy.

“To date, if someone violated the rules in Instagram direct messages, we would set a specific ban or a block for a certain amount of time and extend that period, should they continue to violate,” Madzingira explained.

“Today we’re announcing that we will now be removing those accounts, should they continue to violate within Instagram direct messaging.”

Facebook said it would not spell out how many offenses would trigger removal as offenders could use the information to “game the system”.