Football clubs join forces to tackle abuse in a four-day social media boycott
All of the football clubs and players within the Premier League, English Football League, and Women’s Super League clubs will join in a four-day social media boycott across multiple social media platforms starting on 30th April 2021, in a combined effort to combat abuse and discrimination, across social media.
The Football Association, are supporting the initiative along with other league bodies and other organisations, including the anti-discrimination charity Kick it Out, which we expect will also be involved.
There is significant anger that social media is now sadly becoming a regular vessel for toxic abuse, hence the boycott to highlight the impact of such abuse not just in football but throughout society.
The message is clear, the social media platforms are being asked to step up and create change that allows a more inclusive platform for social interaction. By removing these entities it is realised that it forms a symbolic gesture and it is likely to gain unwanted attention.
The boycott is aimed at asking the social media companies to make their platforms a hostile environment for trolls and recognise the impacts already taken by the social platforms in disciplining hostile, hateful and racial comments.
The players, fans and staff get a lot of abuse online and we need to fight it. The boycott will highlight intolerance and It’s a good way to raise awareness in a non-confrontational action.
The Football Supporters’ Association, Professional Footballers’ Association, League Managers’ Association, Women in Football, Women’s Championship and its clubs as well as refereeing body Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) have also committed to the boycott of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
A number of clubs have taken individual action, in smaller social media boycott by limiting social activity and in some instances turning off social media for a length of time, clubs including Swansea City, Birmingham City Scottish champions Rangers followed Swansea’s lead in recently announcing a boycott of social media.
Former Arsenal and France striker and Premier League hall of fame striker, Thierry Henry took a stand with a social media boycott as he removed himself from all social media in March because of racism and bullying across platforms and in doing so has raised awareness. In an interview with BBC’s Newsnight program, the 43-year-old said “enough was enough” and that he had to make a stand against racism on social media.
The FA’s director of equality and diversity Edleen John said “English football will not tolerate discrimination in any form”.
“We are calling on organisations and individuals across the game to join us in a temporary boycott of these social media platforms, to show solidarity and unite in the message,” she said. “Social media companies need to be held accountable if they continue to fall short of their moral and social responsibilities to address this endemic problem.”
The UK government has previously threatened social media companies with “large fines” which could amount to “billions of pounds” if they fail to tackle abuse on their platforms.
Facebook said in February that tougher measures would be taken to tackle the issue. And as recently as last week, Instagram – which is owned by Facebook – announced a tool to enable users to automatically filter out abusive messages from those they do not follow on the platform.
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