Rev. Ferdinand has called on members of parliament to crack down on social media users who abuse racism and homosexuality online.
The former Manchester United star said that without check online abuse is starting to “normalize racist behavior” in stadiums and society.
Appearing before the House of Commons committee, the TV pundit said the government needed to “expose” anonymous users and make it clear that there would be “effects of posting abuse”.
Explaining the effects of abuse, Mr Ferdinand said: “You sit at home, on one of the devices we all have and you see there, and there is a negative distinction that stands out to you.
“It affects self-esteem, your mental health is at stake. It hurts.
“I mean, I have to sit there and have breakfast with my kids and explain what monkey emoji means.”
The former England defender said the key to preventing abuse was to unveil anonymous accounts.
He said: “The fact that you can remain anonymous online gives you a certain amount of power, it enables you to get out of your chest and be able to say what you really do. Feeling we have ‘Run out of gas’ emotionally.
“Their board fighters are allowed to say and spread all these abuses behind the scenes because they are anonymous.
“It’s an absolute problem for everyone in society.”
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He added: “You can go into a game and if you throw a catch on the pitch it will have effects, but online you can post a banana emoji to a black player and be fine. Will go, you will not be punished, no effect.
“How is that right? It can’t be.”
Mr Ferdinand warned lawmakers that abuse was turning into a stadium, saying: “It is having an effect.
“I was recently racially abused in a sport, so I know from personal experience that this is normal.”
Mr Ferdinand’s comments came as lawmakers considered the government’s new online safety bill, which aims to protect young people and prevent online racist abuse.
The draft bill includes changes to eliminate harmful practices online and gives Offcom the power to fix up to 18 million companies failing new care duties.
Duty of care means that social media companies will be responsible for their customers so that what is unacceptable offline is also unacceptable online.
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