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Cyrus Christie reveals someone launched petition to have him lynched

The full-back has opened up on tackling internet trolls.

Fulham defender Cyrus Christie has no faith in the “useless” support offered by social media companies over racist abuse – revealing someone had started a online poll to have him lynched following an own goal for the Republic of Ireland.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has said new internet regulator Ofcom “will have teeth” to ensure social media companies follow its new duty of care rules.

Christie has little confidence in the current system aimed at dealing with online trolls.

In August last year, the Fulham defender alleged his sister was hit and racially abused by a fan during their Sky Bet Championship match at Barnsley on the opening day of the new season.

Speaking to the Counter Attack Podcast, Christie recalled historical abuse he received on Twitter after scoring an own goal during the 5-1 play-off defeat by Denmark in Dublin, which ended Ireland’s hopes of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

The 27-year-old believes people would be shocked if he detailed the specifics of all the abuse he receives – and highlighted the failure of social media giants to combat it.

“Twitter had got this whole thing about freedom of speech, but they need to kind of change some of their stuff on there because it is not good,” said Christie, who revealed he turns notifications off and blocks abusers to try to avoid a constant stream of abuse.

Cyrus Christie suffered abuse following international duty with the Republic of Ireland
Cyrus Christie suffered abuse following international duty with the Republic of Ireland (Niall Carson/PA)

“They (trolls) think they can get away with, they hide behind profiles.

“I have had so many cases on there, the racism and stuff, it is just mad, but when you speak to them, they are like ‘oh well’.”

Christie continued: “The club (Fulham) have a contact at Twitter and Facebook, so they speak to them and the police will have a connecting role.

“They are useless – they don’t do anything. I’ve had so many things, but nothing gets done.

“I can understand why people don’t pursue things, because you know that nothing is going to happen.”

The Republic of Ireland missed out on the chance to play at the 2018 FIFA World Cup
The Republic of Ireland missed out on the chance to play at the 2018 FIFA World Cup (Brian Lawless/PA)

The Fulham defender recalled the incident after the Republic of Ireland match during November 2017 and the vile social media abuse which followed.

“It was clear as daylight, some of the stuff,” Christie said. “I had one guy send me four black people hanging from a tree, and with ‘you’re next’ – saying they are going to kill me. And there’s a picture and names there, but…

“If I was to put out everything I got, people would be surprised. You say the odd thing now and again – I’ll bring up the odd one – and people are like, ‘rise above it’’ and ‘why are you giving them airtime?’.

“I am trying to put it out there to show that this is what goes on.

“I had a thing with 15 posts on Instagram and five comments minimum were racist – 15 posts straight, and I am posting once a week on average so that is a couple of months.

“You can just understand why players just don’t bother. They (social media companies) don’t understand as well because they are not in that position.

“I had the whole thing (after the Denmark game) with a guy who done a petition to have me lynched. His name was there as well and they did nothing about it.

“I sat there for two hours trying to explain to them and they were like ‘we don’t understand how this could happen, I don’t think people aren’t that racist’.”

Twitter maintains direct action continues to be taken against accounts which post abusive material.

“We have clear abusive behaviour and hateful conduct policies in place and we take enforcement of these policies very seriously. We take decisive and swift action on accounts that break our rules,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement to the PA news agency.

“Throughout this football season in the UK, we have suspended 200 accounts and taken action on nearly 4,000 examples of abuse and hateful content.

“We are continuing to proactively engage and collaborate with our valued partners in football to identify ways to tackle this issue collectively.

“We want to reiterate that abusive and hateful conduct has no place on our service and will continue to take swift action on the minority that try to undermine the conversation for the majority.”

:: Listen to the latest Counter Attack podcast – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFZpxp1FfbA

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Sunday's key events


GOLF
· The men's golf reaches its conclusion, with plenty of players still in medal contention. Home favourite Hideki Matsuyama is one shot off Xander Schauffele's lead, while Great Britain's Paul Casey is another shot further back and Tommy Fleetwood is also in the mix (11.30pm-8am)

CYCLING - BMX
· Great Britain have already made history in the BMX events in Tokyo, something Charlotte Worthington and Declan Brooks will be looking to add to in the women's (2.10am) and men's (3.10am) freestyle finals

SWIMMING
· The final day of swimming action begins with the men's 50m freestyle final. Ben Proud could add to a medal-laden Games in the pool for Team GB so far, although he is up against USA's Caeleb Dressel, who is going for his fourth gold in Tokyo (2.30am)
· From sprint to endurance, Great Britain's second medal hope of the day comes through Daniel Jervis in the men's 1500m freestyle final (2.44am)
· Team GB will again be among the heavy favourites for gold in the last swimming event of the Games - the men's 4x100m medley relay final - having won the mixed event in a world record time on Saturday (3.36am)

BOXING
· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Pat McCormack takes part in the men's welterweight semi-final against Ireland's Aidan Walsh with a spot in the gold medal final at stake (4.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also in the semi-finals of the men's light heavyweight and will be looking to continue Team GB's success in the ring (4.51am)

TENNIS
· There will be a surprise on the top of the men's tennis podium after Novak Djokovic missed out on a medal altogether. Alexander Zverev takes on Karen Khachanov in the second match on Centre Court at the Ariake Tennis Park (7am-2pm)

SAILING
· Alison Young will be going for gold in the women's laser radial medal race (7.33am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Team GB's Max Whitlock will look to defend his 2016 Olympic title in the men's pommel horse final (10.41am)

ATHLETICS
· The men's high jump final includes GB's Tom Gale, although his chances of a medal look bleak (11.10am)
· So often the blue-riband event of the Olympics, the men's 100m final takes place as the world's fastest bid to be crowned Usain Bolt's successor. Three Brits have made it into the semi-finals (11.15am-11.32am), and the final looks wide open after an underwhelming display by favourite Trayvon Bromell on Saturday (1.50pm)

HOCKEY
· Great Britain face India in the men's quarter-final (1pm)

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