English soccer is uniting to boycott social media for four days in response to relentless online abuse of players.
The blackout of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will begin on Friday and last until Monday, covering a full round of games in the men’s and women’s professional leagues.
Clubs across the Premier League, English Football League, Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship will switch off their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts to emphasise that social media companies must do more to eradicate online hate.
It will also be undertaken by the FA, player, manager and referee bodies, and anti-discrimination group Kick It Out.
“The boycott shows English football coming together to emphasise that social media companies must do more to eradicate online hate while highlighting the importance of educating people in the ongoing fight against discrimination,” a joint statement read.
‘Relentless flow of discriminatory messages’
The bodies are concerned about the “relentless flow of discriminatory messages” and are calling for “real-life consequences for purveyors of online abuse across all platforms.”
A host of players at Premier League clubs have been targeted in the past few months, including Manchester United’s Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, Liverpool’s Trent-Alexander Arnold and Sadio Mane, Chelsea’s Reece James, Aston Villa’s Tyrone Mings and Tottenham’s Heung-min Son.
Former Arsenal and France striker Thierry Henry has removed himself from social media because of racism and bullying.
In February, English football bodies sent an open letter to Facebook and Twitter, urging the blocking and swift takedowns of offensive posts, as well as an improved verification process for users.
Facebook-owned Instagram has announced new measures and Twitter vowed to continue its efforts after taking action on more than 700 cases of abuse related to soccer in Britain in 2019.