"No action" against Instagram user who abused Celtic defender Shane Duffy

By Euan Davidson

March 3, 2021

“No action” will be taken by Instagram after Celtic defender Shane Duffy was subjected to sectarian abuse on the platform.

On the 22nd of February, Duffy shared a screen-grab of vile taunts made about his father. Additionally, there were anti-Irish, anti-Catholic comments made against the Ireland captain.

At the time, Sky Sports reported that Instagram would investigate the abuse. However, an update from reporter Anthony Joseph has indicated that the case will go no further.

It’s a damning indictment of social media regulation. Recently, Irish footballers such as James McClean have been subject to racist and sectarian abuse from social media users. Former Celtic boss Neil Lennon spoke out about this kind of treatment back in mid-February, telling Celtic TV:

“These social media platforms don’t display any accountability or look after people on the end of this constant abuse. Whether it be racial, sectarian, personal, social. It’s a real poison in modern day society. It’s more prevalent in football because it’s so much more public and out there.”

Celtic centre-back Shane Duffy / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Instagram and social media at large must do more

Of course, it’s incredibly hard to regulate social media. Free speech laws in different jurisdictions make that job nigh-on impossible.

But there’s no excuse for failing to follow up on such obvious and vile abuse. It’s the kind of thing that would get someone arrested if it was out in public. However, even on the broad daylight of social media, racists and bigots of all kinds remain unimpeded.

It’s a shocking state of affairs, and even more shocking when those who run the platforms refuse to take greater action. Of course, everyone is entitled to share their opinions online. However anti-Irish racism and discrimination of any kind is surely unacceptable to both billion-dollar companies and common decency.

We hope Instagram resolve to U-turn on this grave error. Shane Duffy, James McClean and others are not the first, nor will they be the last, to suffer this kind of abuse. It’s an appalling part of modern life, and it needs cut out.