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Ferdinand blames “chauvinists and archaic thinking” for the abuse of the Lioness

Rio Ferdinand has accused “male chauvinists” and “archaic thinking” in fueling the lionesses’ online abuse during the EURO.

Speak with pleasemynewsThe former England defender warned that social media was a “playground for abuse” with no “repercussions” for abusers, as he strongly condemned the online abuse of women and girls.

Ferdinand, now a BT Sport pundit, lashed out at social media giants for focusing too much on “dollar signs” and letting users abuse others with impunity.

The former footballer has expressed concern about online abuse by the England women’s national football team during the recent Women’s Euros.

Ferdinand argued that it was “male chauvinists” as well as “archaic thinking” and “sheer sheer ignorance” that fueled the social media harassment of the lionesses.

“Whatever it is, it’s wrong,” added Ferdinand, an ex-United star. “And these people need to be brought out from behind the curtains.”

The ex-footballer argued that online abusers shouldn’t be able to spook around with people who don’t know who they are, as he warned trolls might act differently if faced with appropriate consequences for their actions. Social media giants have a “duty of care” to both individuals and society, Ferdinand said.

He noted that his own experiences of ongoing racial abuse as a child put him in a better position to empathize with broader issues of abuse.

“If you’ve been a victim of various forms of abuse, you can understand that you have empathy for other people because you have a little deeper understanding,” he said.

“So that definitely plays a role. But listen, I don’t think this is complicated enough for you to tell if it’s right or wrong. It is day and night.”

He said his wife Kate, a former The only way is Essex star, has been exposed to online abuse as he realized that having a daughter made him more aware of online abuse against women and girls.

Ferdinand, who grew up in Peckham, south-east London, stressed the importance of taking urgent action to stop abuse on social media.

“That has to be done now,” said Ferdinand. “As we speak, there are young girls and women who are actually suicidal.”

His comments come after a coroner recently ruled that the “adverse effects of online content” had contributed to the death of Molly Russell, a 14-year-old girl from Harrow, north-west London, who took her own life in November 2017.

Ferdinand has signed an open letter written by EE calling on the government to better protect women and girls online by implementing tougher measures in the much-delayed Online Safety Act.

The letter calls on ministers to pass the full law, which the government has promised to return to Parliament soon, and to amend the law to ensure that violence against women and girls is seen as a priority harm.

Marcus Rashford, Lucy Bronze and Gareth Southgate are among the other signers of the letter, which is also signed by anti-online abuse charity Glitch.

Recent research by the Hate Lab, which collects data on hate speech, found that 92 per cent of the England women’s national football team had been exposed to hate speech on social media platforms leading up to and during the European Women’s Championship. About 96 percent of the abuse was misogynistic, while 4 percent was homophobic.

Researchers analyzed more than 78,000 social media posts targeted at the Lionesses, who beat Germany with an extra-time victory to secure England’s first major title since the men’s team won the 1966 World Cup.

Ferdinand called the internet a “great place to hide” as he said he’s encountered people who “insulted” him on social media who would never do the same if they saw him on the street.

“They would probably ask for a picture,” Ferdinand quipped. “It tells you everything you need to know about these people.”

If you are experiencing or struggling with feelings of need and isolation, the Samaritans offer support; You can speak to someone free of charge and confidentially on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email or visit the Samaritans website for details of your nearest branch.

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