• February 26, 2024

Social media boycott: Football clubs, players & sporting bodies begin protest

English football and cricket clubs and institutions will boycott Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for four days

Football clubs, players, athletes and a number of sports associations have launched a four-day boycott of social media to combat abuse and discrimination on their platforms.

It started on Friday at 3:00 p.m. CET and ends on Monday at 11:59 p.m. CET.

The “expression of solidarity against online abuse” is intended to encourage companies to take a stronger stance against racist and sexist abuse by users.

Rugby union, cricket and rugby league have also joined the protest.

The Premier League released a statement ahead of the four-day silence saying it would not stop challenging companies “until discriminatory online abuse is removed from our game and society”.

“We know that boycott alone will not erase this, so we will continue to take proactive steps to demand change.” The statement went on.external link

A number of players made statements shortly before the protest began, while soccer clubs changed their Twitter feed icons to a darkened version of their logo.

Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips wrote: “Disappointed we have to do this at all. Social media should be a safe place for everyone.

“I really hope the major platforms make it a priority to remove online abuse from their systems. It’s already a problem in society. Let’s do more to stop it online too.”

Kick It Out, an anti-discrimination charity, says the boycott “means our collective anger,” with football backed by other sports.

Who is taking part?

Some of the organizations boycotting Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram include:

  • Soccer: Clubs from the Premier League, English Football League, Women’s Super League, Scottish Professional Football League and Scottish Women’s Football; Governing bodies such as the Football Association, the Scottish FA, the Football Association of Wales and the Irish Football Association; European governing body Uefa; a number of other football organizations
  • Cricket: The England and Wales Cricket Board, First Class Counties, Regional Women’s Teams and the Professional Cricketers’ Association
  • Rugby Union: England Rugby, Scottish Rugby, Welsh Rugby, France Rugby, Premiership Rugby, Clubs and the Rugby Players’ Association
  • Rugby League: The Rugby Football League, the Super League Europe, the Rugby League World Cup 2021 and the Rugby League Players’ Association
  • Corporations: Premier League and Women’s Super League sponsor Barclays, England sponsor Nationwide, Adidas; Sky Sports, BT Sport and Talksport channels

British Cycling, British Horseracing, Great Britain and England Hockey and the Lawn Tennis Association are also involved.

The Duke of Cambridge, who is President of the FA, has also joined in alongside seven-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton and Williams driver George Russell.

“I fully support the initiative and if I put pressure on these platforms to fight it, I will of course be happy to do so,” said Hamilton.

“I’m really proud to hear that so many organizations are involved. I’m not sure why Formula 1 is not one of them.”

Formula 1 said it was “fully committed to combating any form of discrimination on the Internet or in any other way” and “supported” the sports associations and athletes involved in the boycott.

Formula 1 is believed not to join the boycott as the same abuse issues do not appear on their social media.

The BBC said it could not participate in the campaign because of “special duties not applicable to other organizations under our Royal Charter and editorial guidelines that prevent us from participating in lobbying campaigns”.

“We will continue to work hard and publicly on it Combating abuse of social media and to expose and challenge racism. And we will continue to provide in-depth coverage of the impact of the hatred of social media – and this weekend’s boycott – on our platforms, “the company added.

What did the players say?

Crystal Palace winger Andros Townsend said BBC Sport players would “start fighting back” Add The boycott would “send a warning to these companies that if you don’t start regulating their platforms there will be an indefinite blackout”.

Watford captain Troy Deeney BBC Breakfast said the social media boycott was a “big step”.

“We have all been talking about the effects of social media on the younger generation and mental health for a long time,” he said.

“I think the big part of it is that it’s only four days. It could give people a perspective of what life could be like without a large number of sports stars [social media]. “

Deeney added that he is mistreated on a daily basis, which includes his partner and children.

“This is very difficult for me to read, but also unresponsive,” he said. “We don’t have to react, we are in a privileged position, but when we react on a human level we are held accountable for our reactions.”

Former defense attorney for West Ham, Sunderland and QPR Anton Ferdinand told BBC Radio 5 Live it was “sad” that the fight against online abuse had got to this point, but football had “stopped taking more of it”.

“There should be bans on life because we are talking about people’s lives,” he said.

“Some people cannot get out of the burglary they find themselves in after being abused on social media, and that can result in people harming themselves.

“We have to take this very, very seriously.”

Ferdinand also urged the British government to do more.

“Was the energy of government the same as it was when that [European] Was the Super League talked about? No, it didn’t, and that’s the disappointing thing, “he said.

“When we talk about pound notes and money, people seem right and right.

“The government hasn’t done that when it comes to discrimination on social media platforms the energy is not the same, and that’s one of the reasons social media companies don’t really pay attention to what is being said by the soccer body . “

I take pride in the fact that players have their say on racism – Townsend

Burnley captain Ben Mee Hoping social media companies “get their attention”, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today Program, “There are many technologies that can help stop this abuse online, not just in football, or in sports in general everyday life.

“We have to protect young children and young adults too. And when we grow up with all this social media, these trolls and keyboard warriors have to take responsibility for their actions.”

Why are you doing that?

Two years ago, a number of footballers took part in the #Enough campaign – a 24-hour boycott on social media in protest of online abuse.

However, players in all sports continue to face racist abuse and some clubs are turning to the police about the level of aggression.

An investigation by the professional footballers ‘union, the players’ union, found 56 abusive posts on Twitter in November 2020.

The PFA reported them to the platform, but 31 of them are still visible, which the organization described as “totally unacceptable”.

On Friday, Manchester United announced that their own analysis has shown that the club’s player abuse has increased by 350%. In the period from September 2019 to February 2021, 3,300 contributions were made to players.

It was found that 86% of these posts were racist while 8% were homophobic or transphobic.

Swansea City, Birmingham City and Rangers were added three weeks ago Deactivate their social media accounts for a week speak out against abuse.

“It’s not okay to be abused online” – Henry speaks to BBC Newsnight about his decision to leave social media

Former Arsenal and France striker Thierry Henry moved away of social media in March due to racism and bullying across platforms.

A BBC Sport poll of UK elite women athletes in August found this to be the case a third of the participants had suffered abuse on social media.

Some of the football associations set out the changes they would like to see in a letter to Facebook and Twitter in February.

The British government has previously threatened Social media companies with “heavy fines” that can run to “billions of pounds” if they fail to address abuse on their platforms.

Individuals and football clubs have condemned the abuse and it was decided that collective action is the best way to bring about change.

What do the social media companies say?

Facebook, which owns Instagram, has stated that it is committed to tackling abuse on its platforms.

Instagram last week announced a tool that will allow users to automatically filter out abusive messages from those they don’t follow on the platform.

Twitter posted one long statement in Februaryexternal linkand stated that it was “determined to ensure that the football talk in our service is safe for fans, players and everyone involved in the game”.

The company added it had removed more than 7,000 football tweets in the UK that violated its rules.

Facebook “appalled” by online abuse by footballers – Head of content policy Fadzai Madzingira speaks to BBC sports editor Dan Roan


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