Tokyo Olympics to be held under state of emergency, won’t allow spectators

Rising COVID-19 cases in Japan’s capital have led to a third state of emergency for the city, one that will last throughout the Olympic Games.

The Olympics were postponed from 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“New cases in the greater Tokyo metropolitan area have been rising since June,” Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga was reported as saying in the Japan Times. “Stronger measures have become necessary in those areas, but could be lifted early if we see evidence of the positive impact of the vaccine rollout.”

Tokyo’s COVID-19 cases peaked with the new year, with over 2,392 new cases on Jan. 8. Numbers have fallen since, but they’ve been rising since the middle of June. Tokyo recorded 337 new COVID-19 cases on June 15, but July has seen new cases fluctuate between 500 and 920. It’s the third state of emergency the city has endured since the pandemic’s onset, following similar precautions in April and January.

Around 15% of Japan’s 126 million citizens have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

A worldwide death toll from the virus had risen to more than 4 million as of Thursday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. In Japan, nearly 15,000 people have died of the virus.

After being postponed more than a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Olympics are scheduled to begin July 23 in Tokyo. They’ll run through to Aug. 8. Though many experts cautioned against holding the games, Japan’s government has pressed on — albeit with increasing restrictions as the games approached.

Officials last month said local fans would be allowed to physically attend the games, but with venues limited to 50% capacity or up to 10,000 spectators max. In March, officials banned overseas spectators from the Olympics.

Jake Paul beats Tyron Woodley in split decision: Round-to-round fight coverage

Is the rematch on?

Jake Paul vs. Tyron Woodley is live!

See below for our round-by-round coverage of the fight.

Jake Paul at the press conference earlier this week.

And we’re off. Woodley swings wild to open. Is now trying to walk Paul down, but the size difference is noticeable. Paul is trying to lead with the jab and is doing so effectively. Woodley seems a little frozen and struggling with the range. Paul on the other hand is getting comfy in there.

Our score: 10-9 Paul

Paul lands with a big right to open, but Woodley is trying to cut him off. Paul is not having it. Low activity round so far and Woodley is biting too hard on the feints. Not much happening here and Woodley is down another round.

Our score: 10-9 Paul

Already a better round for Woodley but Paul comes back. Woodley is trying to get inside and gets countered for it. Paul is looking good so far, this could be a long night for Woodley.

Our score: 10-9 Paul

Paul’s punches looking a little less discipled now. Tyron seems like he can get inside better now and is landing the better shots.

Woodley lands a big shot and Paul is rocked. He almost goes down and desperately tries to recover. He makes it out of the round but man… Now we have a fight!

Our score: 10-9 Woodley

Paul looks very tired now and this could be a big problem because Woodley is just getting started. This could be an interesting final three rounds. Woodley should be pressing but he’s slowing down here. Still, this is Woodley’s round.

Our score: 10-9 Woodley

Paul seems to have regained a bit of steam here, landing shots on Woodley and getting his combinations going. Woodley has slowed down and seems to be chasing a one shot kill. This is anyone’s round to steal, but in the end it looks like Paul took it.

Our score: 10-9 Paul

Woodley’s corner is urgent. It appears they know they need a KO at this point. He comes out more aggressive but it doesn’t take much to put him back in his shell. But Paul’s punches are sloppy and surely Woodley could counter here. 

Paul looks tired but Woodley simply isn’t doing enough here.

Our score: 10-9 Woodley

Final round and surely Woodley needs a stoppage here. He comes out with some tight offence and lands some shorts, but it’s not enough. Paul can easily cruise to a victory here. Woodley is pot-shotting now when he really needs something definitive. 

In the end he wins the round on my scorecard, but he has almost certainly lost the fight.

Our score: 10-9 Woodley

Jake Paul wins by split decision

Amanda Serrano, one of the pound-for-pound best female boxers on the planet.

Our co-main event is the sole women’s fight on the card.

Amanda Serrano, the champion, is the overwhelming favourite in this contest. Yamileth Mercado hasn’t been given much of a chance by oddsmakers here, but this is boxing and anything can happen.

But Serrano is one of the best female boxers ever. She hasn’t lost in over 10 years and I can’t imagine her losing here.

Okay here we go. This could be a real showcase for Serrano. Can’t wait to see what she can do in this spotlight.

Serrano comes out super aggressive, huge volume early. But she gets a little stung by a great shot from Mercado. Doesn’t appear to phase her though. Quite a tight round all up.

Our score: 10-9 Serrano

Mercado isn’t exactly out of her depth in this fight, but she is losing. Serrano is marching forward and landing heavy shots, Mercado is landing a few here and there, but Serrano takes the round.

Our score: 10-9 Serrano

Fantastic exchanges here with Mercado and Serrano trading blows. Mercado has a chin on her, but she’s also landing here. This fight is being fought at a tremendous pace.

Our score: 10-9 Serrano

Serrano is slowing the pace down here and pot shotting her jab a little more. She’s managed to catch Mercado coming in a few times. Nice round from Serrano, but Mercado maybe stole the round at the end there with a flurry.

Our score: 10-9 Mercado

These rounds are rattling in, with the two minute rounds. Mercado has earned Serrano’s respect. Serrano isn’t just running in for knockout shots, she’s trying to out-box Mercado and it’s working. Great shots at the end of the round there.

Our score: 10-9 Serrano

Serrano boxing well from the outside, but Mercado landed one helluva body shot. In fact both women are landing to the body frequently. Serrano is really finding her range here and looked to have hurt Mercado at one point.

Our score: 10-9 Serrano

Serrano is looking really sharp now. Completely taking over the fight with her jab. This feels like Serrano’s most comfortable round.

Our score: 10-9 Serrano

Mercado is making this more of a dogfight, digging some real body shots at close range. This is a different type of fight. A much closer round, but Serrano still takes it.

Our score: 10-9 Serrano

Mercado is hanging in here. She’s done a great job in this fight. But Serrano is walking Mercado down now, landing huge body shots. She’s teeing off on Mercado now. Serrano’s best round yet.

Our score: 10-9 Serrano

Last round. Both fighters appear keen to leave it all on the canvas here. Serrano stings Mercado badly and she looks hurt. Mercando is hanging on by a thread here it seems but she survives. Great finish to a great fight.

Our score: 10-9 Serrano

Serrano wins 97-93, 98-92, 99-91 via unanimous decision.

The up-and-coming heavyweight Daniel Dubois.

This is a heavyweight fight between two well tested fighters with solid record. Daniel Dubois is the current WBA interim heavyweight champ. His only loss came at the hands of Joe Joyce last year. Joe Cusumano is a more experienced fighter. At 33 he’s 10 years the senior of the 23 year old Dubois.

These are some big boys. 

Blam! Cusumano goes down early after a series of hard shots from Dubois. He’s back up and ooft, they’re swinging. Cusumano goes down again, then for a THIRD time and it’s all over in round 1. 

Damn, this Dubois guy can hit. That was a wild, wild round of boxing.

Daniel Dubois win via TKO in the first round.

Ivan Baranchyk during an open workout.

This should be a good one. A well matched fight between two up-and-comers. Baranchyk is ranked the fourth best active light-welterweight in the world by The Ring, Love is still undefeated. This should be a high level scrap.

Baranchyk is the aggressor early feinting Love to the ropes with jabs, but Love lands with a straight down the pipe. Love started to loosen up in the second half of the round with slick defence and sharp shots. Baranchyk landed heavy in the last 30 seconds. 

Tough one to call.

Our score: 10-9 Love

Baranchyk come out more aggressive in the opening seconds, but Love is landing. A couple of nice body shots and a great uppercut. Also the check hook is money for Love, he’s landing it over and over. He’s taking over this fight.

Our score: 10-9 Love

Again Baranchyk comes out with urgency, but he’s missing big against Love. Just great footwork. He has gotten caught a couple of time though. 

And whoa… Baranchyk unloads. He’s stunned Love but he manages to stay on his feet. Baranchyk is going hard now, this is clearly his round. Huge moment. Massive flurry at the end there and Love catches Baranchyk clean with a wild hook that almost floors him. Wow. What a round.

Our score: 10-9 Baranchyk

Baranchyk is just clipping Love now. The shots Love was evading now seem more dangerous. Love is standing his ground more now, though and is outlanding Baranchyk. Great round for Love who appears to stun Baranchyk and then pauses to admire the shot.

Our score: 10-9 Love

Love’s check hook can’t miss at this point. His counters are sharp and Baranchyk is struggling. He’s still marching forward though — this is a great fight.

Just when Love seemed to be landing at will, Baranchyk landed clean and hard. Man this fight rules.

Our score: 10-9 Love

A much quieter round in the first minute. Love getting the best of the exchanges so far, with guard splitting straights. Love appears to have recovered just fine from that big shot at the end of the fifth round.

Our score: 10-9 Love

Love smells blood here, he’s marching forward for the first time in the fight, wailing on Baranchyk. Love is just too slick for Baranchyk, whose punches have lost a bit of sting. Baranchyk misses a massive shot and falls over. He needs a knockout now you suspect.

Whoa, an incredible counter shot sends Baranchyk to the floor right at the end of the round. Incredibly clean shot.

Our score: 10-8 Love

And Baranchyk’s corner waves it off. The fight is over. Montana Love takes it by TKO.

Yes, he’s related to Tyson Fury.

Tommy Fury is the brother of current heavyweight king Tyson Fury. He’s a lot younger, a lot more handsome and he’s currently unbeaten with six wins. Anthony Taylor’s record isn’t quite as inspiring with seven wins and five losses… in MMA. Also this fight was changed from a six round contest to a four round fight at the last minute.

Let’s see how this one plays out. Many are saying Fury is next for Jake Paul if he gets past Tyron Woodley and he’s a dramatic, overwhelming favourite for this one.

Man, the height and size difference here is pretty intense. Fury looks like he’s getting quite the layup here. 

Fury is leading with a sharp jab and quickly lands heavy to the body. Taylor walked into a sharp uppercut and is slowly starting to get lit up here. The uppercut seems like a good shot for Fury and Taylor is swinging wild.

Our score: 10-9 Fury

Well the predicted round 1 KO didn’t happen.

Fury is landing with sharp punches, but the old MMA style overhand right is there for Taylor, who is getting outworked here. He’s running out steam and energy. He survives the 2nd round, but hard to imagine him surviving this fight.

Our score: 10-9 Fury

Taylor is spirited here and comes out aggressive. He slips early, but it’s not ruled a knockdown. Fury is going hard to the body here, which is smart because he’s struggling to find the head. This is probably Taylor’s best round but he’s still getting pieced up here. 

Our score: 10-9 Fury

Well, maybe this will go the distance!

If Fury doesn’t get the knockout here, or at the very least a knockdown, it’s not a good look for him. He lands a few big shots, but Taylor clinches and survives. 

Taylor makes it to the bell as the crowd boos.

Our score: 10-9 Fury

Fury wins by decision 40-36 on all scorecards

How to watch the All-Star Game 2021 tonight without cable

Baseball’s best will be on stage in Denver this evening.

Here’s how you can watch all of the All-Star action without cable.

Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels will be the first player in baseball history to hit and pitch in the All-Star Game.

For the National League, the starters are:

For the American League, the starters are:

Mike Trout was voted to his ninth All-Star Game but is recovering from an injured calf and will not play, so Orioles outfielder Cedric Mullins will start in his place. Ronald Acuña Jr. tore his ACL on Saturday and will miss the rest of the season. Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds will take his place. Buster Posey was voted to start his seventh All-Star Game behind the plate for the National League but will miss the game with a hand injury. J.T. Realmuto of the Marlins will start at catcher.

Meanwhile, Shohei Ohtani will do it all. The Major League leader in home runs at the break, and the owner of a 3.49 ERA as a starting pitcher, made history by becoming the first player to be selected to the All-Star Game as both a position player and a pitcher. He’ll hit and pitch in the All-Star Game (and he also took part in last night’s Home Run Derby).

You can see the full MLB All-Star Game rosters here, including reserves and pitchers.

The MLB All-Star Game starts tonight at 5:30 p.m. MT (7:30 p.m. ET) on Fox. Cable TV cord-cutters have a number of options for watching the All-Star Game via a live TV streaming service, detailed below. The catch is that not every service carries every local network, so check each one using the links below to make sure it carries Fox in your area.

Sling TV’s $35-a-month Blue plan includes Fox. Sling TV offers Fox in only a handful of areas.

Read our Sling TV review.

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes Fox. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see which local networks are available in your area.

Read our YouTube TV review.

FuboTV costs $65 per month and includes Fox. Click here to see which local channels you get.

Read our FuboTV review.

Hulu with Live TV costs $65 a month and includes Fox. Click the “View channels in your area” link on its welcome page to see which local channels are offered in your ZIP code.

Read our Hulu with Live TV review.

AT&T TV’s basic $70-a-month package includes Fox. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels are available where you live.

Read our AT&T TV Now review.

All of the live TV streaming services above offer free trials, allow you to cancel anytime and require a solid internet connection. Looking for more information? Check out our live-TV streaming services guide.

Triller wants anyone who illegally streamed Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren to pay up

“It is no different than walking into a store and stealing a video game off the shelf,” said Triller’s head of piracy Matt St. Claire.

Jake Paul defeated Ben Askren in one of the biggest combat sports events of the year.

According to Triller, if those payments are not made, the company will pursue the full $150,000 fine for anyone they can prove streamed the content illegally.

“VPNs all have to comply and turn over the actual IP addresses of each person who stole the fight in discovery,” Triller’s head of piracy Matt St. Claire told Reuters.

“We will be able to identify each and every person, VPN or not, as each stream has a unique fingerprint embedded in the content.”

The request is connected to a lawsuit filed by Triller against the owners of the H3Podcast website among others, who it accused of streaming the Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren event. Triller believe upwards of 2 million people watched the fight illegally. News regarding the suit was first broken by Kevin Iole. Triller believes it lost $100 million as a result of illegal streams.

“We are taking this position because it is outright theft,” St. Claire said. “It is no different than walking into a store and stealing a video game off the shelf.”

Regardless of the piracy, the Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren was huge success by most metrics. Analysts believe the event sold somewhere between 1.2 and 1.6 million PPVs, which is a massive number compared to most recent boxing or MMA live events. The fight itself, however, ended somewhat anti-climatically, after Jake Paul knocked out Ben Askren in the first round.

His brother, Logan Paul, is set to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. in June this year.

UFC 262 Oliveira vs. Chandler: Start time, how to watch and full fight card

In a matter of hours a new UFC champion will be crowned. Here’s everything you need to know…

This has to be one of the greatest UFC photos ever.

While Oliveira vs. Chandler isn’t a blockbuster fight that’ll have the mainstream buzzing, it’s absolutely the right fight to make. Chandler, a long time champion in rival promotion Bellator, made an incredible entrance to the UFC, icing Dan Hooker in one punch at UFC 257. Charles Oliveira, after a mixed early career in the UFC, has developed into maybe the most feared grappler in MMA. Both have earned this shot.

Who’s gonna win? Really tough to tell. It’s a fascinating style match-up. Oliveira is rangy and incredible from his back, Chandler possesses incredible one-shot power and dynamite wrestling.

This one could go either way. I have no idea what’s going to happen.

The UFC 262 main card starts at 10 p.m ET (7 p.m. PT) but here are all the details…

This year the UFC entered into a new partnership with ESPN. That’s great news for the UFC and the expansion of the sport of MMA, but bad news for consumer choice. Especially if you’re one of the UFC fans who want to watch UFC live in the US.

In the US, if you want to know how to watch UFC 262, you’ll only find the fight night on PPV through ESPN Plus. The cost structure is a bit confusing, but here are the options to watch UFC on ESPN, according to ESPN’s site:

You can do all of the above at the link below.

MMA fans in the UK can watch UFC 262 exclusively through BT Sport. There are more options if you live in Australia. You can watch UFC 262 through Main Event on Foxtel. You can also watch on the UFC website or using its app. You can even order using your PlayStation or using the UFC app on your Xbox.

Need more international viewing options? Try a VPN to change your IP address to access those US, UK or Australian options listed above. See the best VPNs currently recommended by CNET editors.

As always fight cards are subject to change…

Logan Paul and Floyd Mayweather memes: OnlyFans and $150,000 Pokemon cards

You knew social media was going to love this fight.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. (green shorts) goes at it with Logan Paul during their contracted exhibition boxing match on June 6.

“LOGAN IS WEARING HIS CHARIZARD CARD,” wrote one Twitter user.

“Did Paul just flash a Charizard? We live in Hell,” said another.

Paul wasn’t the only one wearing something buzzworthy on fight night. Mayweather wore a hat from OnlyFans, the content subscription service often associated with sex workers.

“Logan Paul with the Charizard necklace vs Floyd Mayweather with the OnlyFans Hat this is final boss territory,” wrote one Twitter user.

Before the fight, Paul got kind of wistful.

“In 2015, I moved to Los Angeles,” he tweeted. “Every morning & every night, I’d look myself in the mirror and repeat 10 times ‘I will be the biggest entertainer in the world.’ I had no idea HOW or WHEN it would happen, but after 6 years of manifestation, it’s happening. Life is a wild ride.”

Not everyone was down with Paul’s mantra. One Twitter user pulled up the meme that reads, “I ain’t reading all that. I’m happy for u tho. Or sorry that happened.”

Another snarked, “you 5min into the fight when u realise floyd isnt a 45 year old overweight uber eats driver from down the block that u beat up in sparring.”

But some were definitely on Paul’s team.

“CONGRATULATIONS Logan!!!!” wrote one Twitter user. “But Logan baby you was already the champ before you even stepped in the ring! So very proud of you! You stood your ground the whole 8 rounds, Damn good fight!! absolutely magnificent.”

As always with one of these YouTuber fights, people pointed out that both fighters are raking the money in regardless of how well they did.

“Bro, this is all a gimmick,” wrote one Twitter user. “They came up with this ‘fight’ to make millions. They are laughing at people stupid enough to spend money on this.”

Can’t get enough Paul brothers’ fights? No fear, Logan Paul’s brother, Jake Paul, will fight former UFC champ Tyron Woodley in August.

Here’s how to stream live NBA games on ESPN, TNT and more

This holiday, you don’t need cable to watch all of your team’s games from the comfort of your home.

While you absolutely don’t need cable to watch basketball this year, it still might be the easiest and cheapest choice depending on where you live.

Read more: NHL in 2021: How to watch and stream hockey without cable

Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors during a recent game.

Die-hard sports fans are beholden to regional sports networks, or RSNs, that carry the majority of the games for their local team. These RSNs are usually included in local cable packages, so most cable subscribers never have to worry about gaining access to the broadcasts on these channels: They can simply turn on the TV and watch the game.

Cord-cutting basketball fans have a tougher path. Because of rights agreements, most live TV streaming services like YouTube TV or Hulu with Live TV don’t carry many RSNs. DirecTV Stream is the exception. It has nearly every RSN, particularly the Bally Sports channels (formerly Fox Sports) offered by Sinclair, but you’ll need to spring for its $85-a-month plan.

Read more: DirecTV Stream review: Expensive, but the best option for streaming NBA and NHL

Ultimately, depending on your location, getting a cable subscription that includes ESPN, TNT and the local RSN might actually be cheaper and easier than streaming — especially if it’s bundled with the home internet you’ll likely be getting anyway.

For NBA fans looking to watch a ton of out-of-market basketball, a subscription to NBA League Pass has a lot to offer. You can get the whole NBA slate for $199 for the season, with commercials and one device, or $249 for the season with in-arena feeds instead of commercials, and the ability to watch on two devices at once. Those interested in following only a single team can buy a Team Pass for $119 for the season.

The key catch here is “out-of-market.” Most fans are in-market, meaning they follow the local team, and unfortunately for them RSNs have broadcast exclusivity in the region that they cover. That means local NBA games are blacked out on NBA League Pass.

If you’re living in Los Angeles, for example, you won’t be able to watch Lakers or Clippers games on NBA League Pass. The same goes for Knicks fans in New York, Bucks fans in Milwaukee and so on. The only way to watch most of those home team games in your home market is to get a service that has the local RSN, namely Spectrum SportsNet, Bally Sports SoCal, MSG Network or Bally Sports Wisconsin.

Services like NBA League Pass use IP addresses to block out games in viewers’ regions — you’ll just get a black screen if you try to watch those games. That’s why League Pass is ideal for those who want to follow one or more of the teams based in cities other than their own, aka out-of-market teams, but for local fans it’s not as useful.

In another twist, the NBA TV network will broadcast 107 games this season that will be considered national for those out-of-market. This means that you will still be able to watch your local team play on your RSN, but viewers around the country will need NBA TV in order to watch the game — it will be blacked out on League Pass.

Luckily, League Pass subscribers have the option of adding NBA TV to their package for an extra $60 a year or $7 a month. This is most likely one of the cheapest ways to get NBA TV for the out-of-market fan.

YouTube TV is the only live TV streaming service that includes NBA TV in its base channel lineup. DirecTV Stream, FuboTV and Sling offer the channel only on higher-priced tiers or in special add-ons; see below for details.

For those determined to watch their local basketball team without a cable or satellite TV subscription, a live TV streaming service is the best bet. While it is pricey, DirecTV Stream is the best option for most people, particularly those where the local games air on Bally Sports networks.

Below is a chart of all of the NBA teams in the US and their corresponding RSNs.

Note: None of the (US-based) services carry the RSN for the Toronto Raptors. Fans looking to watch Fred VanVleet and co. need to use NBA League Pass to get all the games that are not either on your local RSN or on a US national broadcast.

Some key takeaways:

One other note: If you don’t recognize the name of some of these channels, don’t worry. As mentioned, the Fox Sports RSNs have been rebranded as Bally Sports, because the channels are no longer owned by Fox but Sinclair, which has since partnered with casino group Bally’s to rename them.

DirecTV Stream is expensive. It’s the priciest of the five major live TV streaming services, but it’s also the one with the most RSNs. Its cheapest, $70-a-month Plus package includes ESPN, ABC, TNT and TBS. You’ll need to move up to the $85-a-month Choice plan to get any available RSN as well as NBA TV. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels and RSNs are available in your area.

Aside from DirecTV Stream, the odds are long that a live TV streaming service carries the RSN for your local team’s games, which makes the other four services better bets for watching nationally televised games.

FuboTV costs $65 per month and offers 10 RSNs for basketball. It also includes ESPN, but not TBS — which might be a problem for some basketball fans. But you can add NBA TV for an extra $7 a month with the Fubo Extra Package or pay for the $80-a-month Elite streaming tier, which includes Fubo Extra. Check out which local networks and RSNs it offers here.

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and offers six RSNs for basketball, along with all of the national broadcasts including NBA TV. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see which local networks and RSNs are available in your area.

Hulu Plus Live TV costs $65 a month and carries six RSNs for basketball, along with ESPN, ABC, TBS and TNT, but not NBA TV. Click the “View all channels in your area” link at the bottom of its welcome page to see which local networks and RSNs are available where you live.

Sling Blue currently lacks a single RSN to watch basketball. You can, however, use Sling to watch some national broadcasts. Sling TV’s Orange plan includes ESPN, and both plans offer TBS, but neither of them gives you access to ABC. NBA TV is available as part of the Sports Extra add-on, which costs $11 a month for either the Blue or Orange plan, or $15 for the combined Orange-and-Blue plan. The individual plans cost $35 a month each, and the Orange-and-Blue plan costs $50 a month. You can see which local channels you get here.

Each live TV streaming service offers a free trial, allows you to cancel anytime and requires a solid internet connection. Looking for more information? Check out our live TV streaming services guide.

Olympic medalist reveals how she fixed her kayak… with a condom

It worked. And Jessica Fox’s kayaking has no unplanned pregnancies that we know of.

Fox didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment (she’s a little busy). But while games organizers have given out condoms to Olympic athletes since 1988 (the tradition began in Seoul in 1988 due to HIV and AIDS), things are a bit different this year. Due to the coronavirus, Olympic organizers haven’t wanted to encourage Olympic hookups, so they reportedly aren’t handing out free condoms until the athletes are ready to leave Japan.

Fox’s ingenuity shouldn’t surprise anyone. She now has four Olympic medals, and Team Australia proudly, and accurately, dubbed her “the most successful female paddler in Olympic canoe slalom history.”

“I’m grateful to everyone who helped me get to this point,” Fox said in the Instagram post. “I’m sending all my love and all my gratitude because I felt the support from all over the world.”

Social networks struggle to shut down racist abuse after England’s Euro Cup final loss

Social media users have been frustrated at having to perform moderation duties to keep racist abuse in check.

Bukayo Saka of England is consoled by head coach Gareth Southgate.

The vitriol presented a direct challenge to the social networks — an event-specific spike in hate speech that required them to refocus their moderation efforts to contain the damage. It marks just the latest incident for the social networks, which need to be on guard during highly charged political or cultural events. While these companies have a regular process that includes deploying machine-automated tools and human moderators to remove the content, this latest incident is just another source of frustration for those who believe the social networks aren’t quick enough to respond.

To plug the gap, companies rely on users to report content that violates guidelines. Following Sunday’s match, many users were sharing tips and guides about how to best report content, both to platforms and to the police. It was disheartening for those same users to be told that a company’s moderation technology hadn’t found anything wrong with the racist abuse they’d highlighted.

It also left many users wondering why, when Facebook, for example, is a billion-dollar company, it was unprepared and ill-equipped to deal with the easily anticipated influx of racist content — instead leaving it to unpaid good Samaritan users to report.

For social media companies, moderation can fall into a gray area between protecting free speech and protecting users from hate speech. In these cases, they must judge whether user content violates their own platform policies. But this wasn’t one of those gray areas.

Racist abuse is classified as a hate crime in the UK, and London’s Met Police said in a statement that it will be investigating incidents that occurred online following the match. In a follow-up email, a spokesman for the Met said that the instances of abuse were being triaged by the Home Office and then disseminated to local police forces to deal with.

Twitter “swiftly” removed over 1,000 tweets through a combination of machine-based automation and human review, a spokesman said in a statement. In addition, it permanently suspended “a number” of accounts, “the vast majority” of which it proactively detected itself. “The abhorrent racist abuse directed at England players last night has absolutely no place on Twitter,” said the spokesman.

Meanwhile, there was frustration among Instagram users who were identifying and reporting, among other abusive content, strings of monkey emojis (a common racist trope) being posted on the accounts of Black players.

According to Instagram’s policies, using emojis to attack people based on protected characteristics, including race, is against the company’s hate speech policies. Human moderators working for the company take context into account when reviewing use of emojis.

But in many of the cases reported by Instagram users in which the platform failed to remove monkey emojis, it appears that the reviews weren’t conducted by human reviewers. Instead, their reports were dealt with by the company’s automated software, which told them “our technology has found that this comment probably doesn’t go against our community guidelines.”

A spokeswoman for Instagram said in a statement that “no one should have to experience racist abuse anywhere, and we don’t want it on Instagram.”

“We quickly removed comments and accounts directing abuse at England’s footballers last night and we’ll continue to take action against those that break our rules,” she added. “In addition to our work to remove this content, we encourage all players to turn on Hidden Words, a tool which means no one has to see abuse in their comments or DMs. No one thing will fix this challenge overnight, but we’re committed to keeping our community safe from abuse.”

The social media companies shouldn’t have been surprised by the reaction.

Football professionals have been feeling the strain of the racist abuse they suffer online — and not just following this one England game. In April, England’s Football Association organized a social media boycott “in response to the ongoing and sustained discriminatory abuse received online by players and many others connected to football.”

English football’s racism problem is not new. In 1993, the problem forced the Football Association, Premier League and Professional Footballers’ Association to launch Kick It Out, a program to fight racism, which became a fully fledged organization in 1997. Under Southgate’s leadership, the current iteration of the England squad has embraced anti-racism more vocally than ever, taking the knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement before matches. Still, racism in the sport prevails — online and off.

On Monday, the Football Association strongly condemned the online abuse following Sunday’s match, saying it’s “appalled” at the racism aimed at players. “We could not be clearer that anyone behind such disgusting behaviour is not welcome in following the team,” it said. “We will do all we can to support the players affected while urging the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible.”

Social media users, politicians and rights organizations are demanding internet-specific tools to tackle online abuse — as well as for perpetrators of racist abuse to be prosecuted as they would be offline. As part of its “No Yellow Cards” campaign, the Center for Countering Digital Hate is calling for platforms to ban users who spout racist abuse for life.

In the UK, the government has been trying to introduce regulation that would force tech companies to take firmer action against harmful content, including racist abuse, in the form of the Online Safety Bill. But it has also been criticized for moving too slowly to get the legislation in place.

Tony Burnett, the CEO of the Kick It Out campaign (which Facebook and Twitter both publicly support), said in a statement Monday that both the social media companies and the government need to step up to shut down racist abuse online. His words were echoed by Julian Knight, member of Parliament and chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

“The government needs to get on with legislating the tech giants,” Knight said in a statement. “Enough of the foot dragging, all those who suffer at the hands of racists, not just England players, deserve better protections now.”

As pressure mounted for them to take action, social networks have also been stepping up their own moderation efforts and building new tools — with varying degrees of success. The companies track and measure their own progress. Facebook employs its independent oversight board to assess its performance.

But critics of the social networks also point out that the way their business models are set up gives them very little incentive to discourage racism. Any and all engagement will increase ad revenue, they argue, even if that engagement is people liking and commenting on racist posts.

“Facebook made content moderation tough by making and ignoring their murky rules, and by amplifying harassment and hate to fuel its stock price,” former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao said on Twitter on Monday. “Negative PR is forcing them to address racism that has been on its platform from the start. I hope they really fix it.”