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UK sports radio station stops promoting Twitter on air in protest 'inaction' at abusive tweets

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LONDON - Twitter has been banned from being mentioned on broadcasts by Britain's sports radio station in protest at the social network's apparent inaction over abusive messages sent to its star presenter.

Former Liverpool striker Stan Collymore had called on Twitter to take swift action against Twitter users sending him death threats and racist abusive after he suggested Liverpool forward Luis Suarez dived to win a penalty last weekend.

Talk Sport said Wednesday that it has written to Twitter asking it to immediately delete "illegal tweets" after receiving complaints and to introduce filters to prevent users using hate language.

"We are dismayed at the lack of response and perceived inaction by Twitter," Talk Sport chief executive Scott Taunton said on the company's website. "Racist or abusive messages of this nature are illegal and unacceptable. We have more than three million Twitter followers across our accounts but we will not promote these until we are satisfied that Twitter is doing its utmost to prevent abuse of this nature.

"We have a duty of care to all our staff and presenters and until I am satisfied that Twitter is treating this seriously we will no longer promote Twitter accounts or use tweets on-air."

Twitter insisted before Talk Sport's statement that it already has clear processes to tackle abuse.

"Twitter is an open communications platform," the company said in a statement. "Our priority is that users are able to express themselves, within acceptable limits and, of course, within the law.

"We cannot stop people from saying offensive, hurtful things on the internet or on Twitter. But we take action when content is reported to us that breaks our rules or is illegal."

Police are investigating the tweets sent to Collymore, who has more than 500,000 followers.

In Britain, hundreds of people are charged each year for sending menacing, indecent, offensive or obscene messages.

But the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that First Amendment protections of freedom of speech apply to the Internet.

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