Social media companies must delete the accounts of users who abuse other people online, says Rob Earnshaw.
But the former Wales striker said this must also go hand in hand with educating those who inflict such abuse.
Earnshaw was reacting after Wales players Ben Cabango and Rabbi Matondo were racially abused on Instagram after Wales’ 1-0 win over Mexico on Saturday.
“It’s something very serious and it’s not new,” Earnshaw told BBC Radio Wales Breakfast.
“The difficulty is always there’s not only one thing that we can do, there’s small little parts we can all do, and we can all build towards making it better and eradicating it.
“That’s the biggest thing is, we can all do these steps.”
Police are investigating the abusive messages sent to Cabango and Matondo, with Stoke City winger Matondo criticising Instagram, while the Football Association of Wales says it is “disgusted by the racial abuse”.
Facebook, which owns Instagram, says it has permanently removed the accounts from which the messages were sent and is “committed to doing more”.
“Thierry Henry [the France and Arsenal great] recently made a great point that, especially on social media – if that’s one platform we’re concentrating on – you can look at it in the same way they look at copyrights, deleting accounts when these things are voiced in this negative way that they’re put down straight away,” said Earnshaw, who scored 16 goals in 59 games for Wales.
“That’s one way, but we need to continue looking at this as a really, really serious case because it’s just all over.
“That’s the first step, because I don’t think social media companies have looked at this and said, ‘okay, we will do something’ and they continue to do something.
“They look at other areas but they’ve not looked at this so far, that’s the first thing if somebody has got an account that is to specifically abuse people in different ways – not just racism – they have to clamp down on that to delete those accounts.
“Number one that’s the first step, but we have to make sure we continue to educate people as well, because it’s the people behind it that’s the key, we have to educate them and teach people that these things are wrong.
“There’s been some great work, some really good things that have come from focusing on it over the last year and that’s what we have to continue to do.”