British soccer takes aim at social media platforms over racist abuse

Three UK football clubs said Thursday that they would boycott all social media for a week to protest the “heinous” racism and abuse directed against some of their players.

The campaign, which began with Welsh club Swansea City, is the most significant move in a growing movement within British football to put pressure on social media companies to crack down on racism, which has led some to step up regulation demand and an end to the anonymity that offers protection to many abusers.

The Swansea City Football Club said in one statement that the game and coaching team would not post anything on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, YouTube or TikTok after 5 p.m. BST (12 p.m. ET) Thursday. Swansea City Ladies, the club’s community trust and senior administrative officials, will also participate in the boycott, the statement added.

“This decision was made based on discussions between senior club officers, players and management,” said Swansea City. “As a football club, we’ve seen several of our players suffer horrific abuse in the last seven weeks alone.” We believe it is right to oppose behavior that affects our sport and society as a whole. “

Swansea players Jamal Lowe, Yan Dhanda and Ben Cabango have all been racially abused online this season.

After Lowe posted to Instagram on Saturday, a user responded with two monkey emojis and derogatory messages. When he republished the news on a subsequent Instagram story, Lowe wrote that “there are some idiots out there”.

Jamal Lowe of Swansea City in action during the Sky Bet Championship game between Birmingham City and Swansea City at St. Andrews on April 2, 2021 in Birmingham, England.Athena Pictures / Getty Images

The Swansea City statement said the club’s chairman Julian Winter sent a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to reiterate the need for companies to be in the business To combat online abuse, more teams targeting need to do what has seen players and managers from a number of countries.

Last month, former Arsenal and France striker Thierry Henry said he went away of social media because of racism and bullying across platforms.

With Premier League and English Football League games kicking off, most players, officials and staff have been kneeling since June to support the racial equality movement.

Within hours of Swansea City’s announcement, the English city announced Birmingham City, which also plays in the Championship League – one of the premier leagues statement that it would follow suit and “not publish any content on the channels of the men’s and women’s club for seven days”.

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“The club stands in solidarity with Swansea City Football Club,” he said, adding, “We understand how players and staff at the football club use social media, both personally and professionally, and so we know exactly how Platforms are further developed. ” become a breeding ground for abusive, offensive and discriminatory content.

“We understand how social media can be used as a driving force, but we currently do not recognize this trait in such areas and strongly believe that those responsible for these platforms are not doing enough to address the unacceptable abuse and discrimination that they face are to stamp out housing. “

In Scotland, Rangers Football Club also said in one statement that its stakeholders and management would join the boycott to “underscore ongoing concerns about lack of accountability and social media responsibility”.

Both Twitter and Facebook, which also owns Instagram, have previously stated that they are working to combat online hatred.

Also on Thursday, Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson handed over control of all of his social media accounts The Cybersmile Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps fight online bullying and abuse and supports victims of online hate campaigns.

Henderson has long been an activist fighting the increasing levels of abuse and discrimination in the game and discussed the issue with the UK government this year.

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