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Twitter responds to criticism after Tammy Abraham suffers online racial abuse

Twitter responds to criticism after Tammy Abraham suffers online racial abuse
© Reuters
The Chelsea forward was the subject of abusive posts after his shoot-out penalty was saved.

Twitter remain "deeply committed to improving the health of the conversation" on the social media platform following criticism from Kick It Out after Chelsea forward Tammy Abraham was the victim of online racial abuse.

Abraham's penalty was saved by Liverpool goalkeeper Adrian to hand the Super Cup to the Reds on Wednesday night, and the 21-year-old was the subject of abusive posts on Twitter.

There have been a series of unsavoury incidents already this season and anti-discrimination campaigners Kick It Out were quick to condemn it, with a "call to action" for what was being done to "tackle this insidious problem".

— Twitter Public Policy (@Policy) April 16, 2019

A Chelsea spokesman described the posts as "abhorrent" with the club declaring themselves "disgusted" and promising the "strongest possible action" if any of their fans are proven to be involved.

In a statement issued to the PA news agency, Twitter highlighted the recent 'health update' post earlier this year, with significant progress made when it comes to hateful conduct on the service.

"We continue to take action on any account that violates the Twitter Rules," a Twitter spokesperson told PA.

"We welcome people to freely express themselves on our service, however, as outlined in our Hateful Conduct Policy, users cannot promote violence against, threaten or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity or other protected groups.

"We remain deeply committed to improving the health of the conversation on the service and in that respect we continue to prioritise the safety of our users."

Kick It Out maintains more must be done to combat the social media trolls.

"Last night we received reports of racist abuse at Tammy Abraham on social media after Chelsea's UEFA Super Cup match," a Kick It Out statement read.

"Such abuse is now increasingly predictable, but no less disgusting.

"We send our support to Tammy and reiterate our call for Twitter and other social media companies to clamp down on this level of abuse. This is a call to action – we want to know what they are going to do to tackle this insidious problem."

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Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford sent his support to Abraham, telling him via Twitter: "Keep your head held high, we've all had them (penalties) saved. We should be celebrating young English talent, not this."

Christian Pulisic, meanwhile, said the Chelsea players would get behind Abraham after his shoot-out miss.

Frank Lampard's reign as Blues boss got off to the worst possible start on Sunday as a second-half capitulation resulted in an embarrassing 4-0 loss at Manchester United.

Chelsea had precious little time to dust themselves down before Wednesday's Super Cup clash in Istanbul, where they drew 2-2 with Jurgen Klopp's Champions League winners after extra-time and went to penalties.

Back-up goalkeeper Adrian denied substitute Abraham to seal the Reds' 5-4 triumph in Turkey, but Pulisic struck an optimistic tone after the defeat and was confident the miss would have no long-term impact on the England Under-21 forward.

"It's penalties, man – somebody has to miss," Pulisic said.

"He's going to get his head up. Obviously it's tough but penalties are like that. He can deal with it and he'll be fine.

"He'll move on, he'll score a goal in the next game and everything will be forgotten. We're there for him."

Abraham has backed himself to recover from the miss, telling reporters in the aftermath: "I'm always someone who believes in myself in penalties. I had a few last season and a few important ones. Unfortunately I missed one of the most important ones for Chelsea. It's about how I react and just get my head up."

Pulisic felt it was the second game in a row where Chelsea's performance had not been rewarded with the right result.

"It was harsh on us," the United States international said. "A few things just didn't go our way, a few decisions, and in the end to lose on penalties, that's just how it goes.

"But we can be really proud of how we played. I don't feel that we had a fair result at Old Trafford either.

"We've been creating enough chances to win these games and we just have to keep going and keep fighting."

Pulisic had a goal ruled out for offside after setting up Olivier Giroud's opener, only for Sadio Mane to level shortly after half-time.

The Senegal international put Liverpool ahead early in extra-time, only for Jorginho to make it 2-2 after Adrian was adjudged to have brought down Abraham in the box.

The striker wasted a great chance to win the Super Cup before the match went to a shoot-out, where Adrian denied the 21-year-old's decisive spot-kick.

Adrian saves Tammy Abraham's spot-kick
Adrian saves Tammy Abraham's spot-kick (AP)

There does appear to be a real togetherness being fostered by Lampard, whose belief in youth and understanding of the club's values makes Pulisic confident that a first win is close.

"It's been great working with him," the ex-Borussia Dortmund star said. "We've learned a lot so far and I think you can see the team forming.

"We have a lot of great players which makes it easier. We're on a good path."

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Tammy Abraham celebrates scoring for Chelsea on July 23, 2019
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