Sadly another Euros Championship has ended with a devastating loss for England. It almost came home after England reached the Euros final for the first time in history and narrowly missed lifting that trophy by an unfortunate penalty shootout with Italy. We must remember though, all is not lost, history was made, the nation was united and the England team did their country proud.

In amongst all the comradery of the tournament, you may not have noticed another “first-ever” accomplishment within Euros 2020… we welcomed the first-ever social media platform to sponsor a major sports event! You may or may not have noticed the TikTok logo plastered all over the stadiums and associated advertisements.

Social media in 2020

2020 was an excellent year for TikTok, who couldn’t have survived the pandemic without their daily dose of dances and challenges to occupy them? TikTok has over 3.7 million active users in the UK and the addictive video-sharing app was downloaded over 745,000 times in March 2020 alone!

Since then, TikTok has been dominating the world across a variety of sectors, from Education and Makeup hacks and now to Sport. So what better social platform to become an official partner of the Euros 2020?

TikTok has proclaimed itself as a ‘vibrant hub of sports content with a reported 1.5 billion daily video views based on sports hashtags. With a variety of content from memorable moments and replays from the matches to players such as Phil Foden and Jack Grealish sharing their tricks and challenging the nation. Hashtags such as #AskEngland let the public in with a chance of getting their questions answered by the England players.

I think it’s safe to say this has been the most personal tournament so far, not only to celebrate and come together after the 18 months the world has endured but also to bring the team closer to the fans than ever before. Is this a trend that is here to stay? With the ever-growing trend of celebrities on social media, it makes the fans feel more involved with their lives, you see their homes, their day to day activities just as if they were your friends. Is this the new normal for international and global events? Will we see the same for the World Cup 2022?

In saying this, social media has done so much for the reach and unity of the Euros this year, but with every positive, there is a downside. Following the devastating loss against Italy, at least three England players sadly became subject to insensitive and racist attacks via social media. While most of the country including the UK government stands proudly behind these players and have flooded to social media trying to drown out the hate with positivity and unity, the sad truth of these racist comments still remain.

How is the government taking action?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the British Government’s warning to social media platforms to take action over these racist messages the players are receiving.

He even opened his following Cabinet meeting voicing his disgust at the backlash these players have been subject to. He said, ” The abuse was utterly disgraceful and had emerged from the dark spaces of the internet,” the prime minister’s official spokesman told reporters. Treasury Minister Stephen Barclay also told Sky News, stating, “We need to ensure that those platforms take action and if they don’t, the government will take action against them.” Could this be the start of a long-awaited change in accountability across social media? With over 77.9% of the UK population using social media, should there be better policing and governmental interference?

We are yet to hear statements from the social media platforms in question at the time of writing this article on 13/07/21.

If you have been subject to racial abuse online or have witnessed it, there are a few things you can do to help this injustice. On most social media platforms, there is the option to “report” the post if it does not adhere to the platform’s guidelines. By reporting the post, it will be flagged to the platform’s regulators and hopefully, be removed.

How can I help?

Charities such as Young Minds and Kick It out are charities campaigning against racial abuse online and helping people who have been victims of online hate and discrimination.