English football leagues announce social media boycott against online racism By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Premier League – Fulham v Leicester City

(Reuters) – UK football authorities have joined forces to announce a social media boycott next weekend in response to continued racist abuse against players online.

The boycott will run over a full schedule of matches in the professional men’s and women’s match from 3:00 p.m. local time (2:00 p.m. GMT) on Friday to 11:59 p.m. on Monday, May 3.

Premier League, English Football League, Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship clubs will deactivate their Facebook (NASDAQ :), Twitter and Instagram accounts to highlight that social media companies need to do more to end hate online.

“Racist behavior in any form is unacceptable and the appalling abuse that we see players receiving on social media platforms cannot be allowed to continue,” Premier League CEO Richard Masters said, in a press release.

“The Premier League and our clubs stand with football in organizing this boycott to underscore the urgent need for social media companies to do more to eradicate racial hatred.

“We will not stop challenging social media companies and want to see significant improvements in their policies and processes to tackle discriminatory online abuse on their platforms.”

Numerous Premier League club players have been targeted in recent months, including Manchester United’s Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, Liverpool‘s Trent-Alexander Arnold and Sadio Mane and Chelsea’s Reece James.

The Championship (second tier) team up with Birmingham City and Swansea City and Scottish champions Rangers recently carried out weeklong boycotts following a wave of racial attacks on their players.

Former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry said last month he was pulling back from social media over racism and intimidation, while Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson ceded control of his accounts with an anti-cyberbullying charity.

In February, English football organizations sent an open letter to Facebook and Twitter, calling for the blocking and swift removal of offensive posts, as well as an improved verification process for users.

Instagram, owned by Facebook, has announced new measures and Twitter has vowed to continue its efforts after taking action in more than 700 cases of football-related abuse in Britain in 2019.

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