Social media companies must do more to stop online abuse. That is why this weekend English football is leading a boycott of social media to demand change.
We will join leagues, clubs, and other governing bodies and organisations across sport in boycotting our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts from 3pm on Friday 30 April to 11.59pm on Monday 3 May.
Why are we boycotting social media?
We want to demonstrate our collective anger at the constant abuse on social media received by footballers and many people connected to the game, as well as others around the world, which goes without any real-world consequences for perpetrators.
We know that a boycott alone will not eradicate the scourge of online discriminatory abuse, which is why we will continue to take proactive steps to call for change. We will not stop challenging social media companies until we see enough progress.
What change do we want to see?
We are asking for significant action from social media companies, including:
• Apply preventative filtering and blocking measures to stop discriminatory abuse being sent or seen
• Be accountable for safety on platforms and protect users by implementing effective verification
• Ensure real-life consequences for online discriminatory abuse: ban perpetrators, stop account re-registration and support law enforcement
• A warning message to be displayed if a user writes an abusive message, and the need to enter personal data if they wish to send the message
• Platforms to have robust, reliable and quick measures in place if abusive material is sent or posted
• Transparent quarterly reports on the work social media companies are doing, internally and externally, to eradicate abuse on their platforms
We are also urging the Government to ensure its Online Safety Bill will bring in strong legislation to make social media companies more accountable for what happens on their platforms.
How can you help?
If you have experienced or witnessed discrimination on social media, you should make your local police force aware by filing a report here. You can also report posts to the respective social media channels by using the following links:
By reporting online abuse, you can help stop the behaviour and protect other people from seeing the abusive content. Online abuse does not have to be experienced directly by someone for that person to report. Everyone has a responsibility to report online hate.
Edleen John, our Director of International Relations, Corporate Affairs and Co-partner for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, said: "For footballers and many others connected to the game, receiving discriminatory abuse on social media is becoming the norm, and that is simply unacceptable. It’s traumatic on a personal level to each individual, and it can have such a damaging impact psychologically to those who receive abuse, alongside their families who often have to support them through this negative experience. The fact that online abuse has no real-world consequences needs to change quickly.
"The level of support that this boycott is receiving across football, wider sport and society shows that we have collectively had enough of online discriminatory abuse going unchallenged. Social media companies must realise their responsibility to keep users safe and put the necessary measures in place to prove that tackling discrimination is a genuine priority. We also continue to urge the Government to ensure that the Online Safety Bill is passed rapidly and gives sufficient regulatory and supervisory powers to Ofcom, so social media companies can be held truly accountable."