English clubs, sports organizations, and players turned off their social networks for four days in protest against online abuse.
The boycott was announced by the English football authorities a week ago and quickly endorsed by other sporting bodies and the Premier League, among others. They will close their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts to ask for better policies regarding discrimination, security, and effective profile verification.
From today until May 4, English football clubs and other sports organizations carry out a blackout on social networks to protest against online harassment. These are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media accounts of the Premier League, the English Football League, the Association of Professional Footballers, and the Football Association, among others.
English football teams and organizations will close their accounts for four days as part of an initiative that seeks to carry out a massive blackout on social media to demand better policies regarding discrimination and abuse that players and club members receive on those platforms.
The blackout comes after several English football organizations came together in February this year to request changes from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in an open letter requesting that companies take further action. Forceful against discriminatory and racist comments.
In an open letter to Dorsey and Zuckerberg on February 11, English football officials called for action "for the simple reasons of humanity's simplicity. Twitter acknowledged that it did not mean to censor comments from unknown accounts.
On this occasion, the message posted on the Instagram feed of the official Premier League account, which is followed by more than 45 million people on Instagram, states: "Social media companies have to do more to stop online harassment" Under the hashtag #StopOnlineAbuse.
In that message, they ask to implement measures to prevent messages of discrimination from being sent or seen. In this sense, they require companies to be responsible for security on their platforms and to provide protection to users by implementing an efficient verification of their profiles. They also request that platforms work in tandem with regulatory bodies to identify individuals who post discriminatory content in violation of the law.
The boycott was announced by the English football authorities a week ago and quickly endorsed by other sporting bodies. From Manchester United recently, they pointed out that, by its own analysis, it had found that since September 2019, there was an increase of 350% of abuse directed at players.
By taking part in this boycott this weekend, we, along with the rest of English football, want to raise awareness of the issue," said United CEO Richard Arnold. British football clubs were joined by the governing body of European football, UEFA, British cycling, the Rugby Football Union (RFU), the Cricket Board of England and Wales (ECB), and the Formula 1 world champion. Lewis Hamilton, among others. In addition, it includes the media that have the broadcasting rights of the Premier League Sky Sports and BT Sport, among others.
Online insults must end. Social media must do more. There is no room for racism, 'stop' online abuse," the Premier League noted on Twitter.
In France, the French Rugby Federation (FFR) announced this Friday that it would also join the boycott on social networks to raise awareness and denounce racism, harassment, and discrimination on the internet. For their part, several Formula 1 drivers will also join the blackout, including Lewis Hamilton.
"As a show of solidarity with the world of football, my social networks will go black this weekend. Discrimination, online or not, has no place in society. For too long, it's been easy for a small minority posting hateful messages behind their screens," the F1 star wrote on Twitter. Formula 1, however, declared on Thursday that it supported the move but stressed that it would not be part.