Manchester United have called for social media firms to enforce stricter regulations after “anonymous irrational idiots” racially abused Axel Tuanzebe and Anthony Martial following the Red Devils’ 2-1 loss to Sheffield United on Wednesday.
Kean Bryan opened the scoring at Old Trafford after some questionable goalkeeping from David de Gea, while former Blades defender Harry Maguire reacted as he scored his first goal at the Theatre of Dreams to restore goal equality.
Chris Wilder’s option to bring on Oliver Burke in the second half paid off, however, with the striker having found a late winner via a deflection off Tuanzebe.
But following the defeat, Tuanzebe was targeted on his Instagram account through dozens of vile racist comments – including one which read ‘DAMNNN N*****’ – as well as several abhorrent monkey emojis on an old photo that he had posted a fortnight ago of his United shirt and number.
Some reports have also claimed Tuanzebe has deleted his Twitter account as a result of the abuse he received following the game at Old Trafford, while Martial was also subjected to abuse after playing the whole game, leading United to call for social media sites to eradicate abuse.
United club statement read: ‘Everyone at Manchester United is disgusted by the racial abuse received by players via social media after last night’s game.
‘We utterly condemn it and it is encouraging to see other fans condemn this on social media also.
‘Manchester United has zero-tolerance of any form of racism or discrimination and a long-standing commitment to campaigning against it through our All Red All Equal initiative.
This is a disgrace 🤬
These ignorant idiots need to be exposed so everyone can see them for what they are! pic.twitter.com/jGZiAEnVHv
— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) January 28, 2021
‘Identifying these anonymous irrational idiots remains difficult. We urge social media platforms and regulatory authorities to strengthen measures to prevent this kind of behaviour.’
A Facebook spokesperson meanwhile told Sportsmail: ‘There is no place for racism on Instagram and we are committed to removing it when we find it.
Brothers ♥️ pic.twitter.com/I5a0lytxMG
— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) January 28, 2021
‘We know there is more to do and we will continue to work closely with clubs, players and football authorities to investigate instances of racism and collectively tackle this issue.’
Sportsmail have also contacted Kick It Out for comment.