English football and cricket clubs and institutions will boycott Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for four days
Leading soccer clubs and players will be supported by a number of sports organizations in a four-day boycott of social media platforms from Friday to combat abuse and discrimination.
The “expression of solidarity against online abuse” is intended to encourage companies to take a stronger stance against racist and sexist abuse on their platforms.
Rugby union, cricket and rugby league will join the boycott.
It starts on Friday at 3:00 p.m. CET and ends on Monday at 11:59 p.m. CET.
“This boycott represents our collective anger,” said Sanjay Bhandari, chairman of the anti-discrimination charity Kick it Out.
“By moving away from the platforms, we are making a symbolic gesture to those in power. We need you to act. We need you to bring about change.”
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, 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
British Cycling, British Horseracing, Great Britain and England Hockey and the Lawn Tennis Association are also involved.
The seven-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton and Williams driver George Russell have joined the team.
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”.
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 acting collectively is the best way to bring about change.
Crystal Palace winger Andros Townsend said BBC Sport players are starting to “fight back” Add The boycott will “send a warning to these companies that if you don’t start regulating your platforms, there will be an indefinite power outage.”
I take pride in the fact that players have their say on racism – Townsend
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 Februaryand states that it is “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