Don’t be surprised if you open Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter when multiple posts from footballers, rugby players, and various teams and organizations have flooded your feed. They won’t publish anything for three days.
Since this Friday, April 30th, at 4 p.m. and until next Tuesday, many public figures in the world of sports have started a boycott of social networks in order to fight against hateful and discriminatory abuse on platforms. Most are English, but the range of their audience will allow them to make noise internationally.
Hate messages for Manchester United players up 350%
Among the participants we can count the English Football League and its various Premier League clubs. Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling posted a message on his Twitter informing his community. The claim is broadly against all social media abuse, but some teams and players have mainly focused on direct player abuse.
According to a study by Manchester United, the club’s players saw a significant 350% increase in the number of hate messages between September 2019 and February 2021. 86% are said to be racist, while 8% are homophobic.
We will shut down our social media channels from Friday, April 30th, 3:00 p.m. to Monday, May 3, 11:59 p.m. in order to respond to ongoing and ongoing online abuse. # Enough | #StopOnlineAbuse pic.twitter.com/toiIg3FfWW
– Raheem Sterling (@ sterling7) April 30, 2021
The boycott points to the still lacking lack of moderation of social media algorithms. “I really hope the big platforms make this a priority. […] It’s already a problem in society, let’s get it off the internet too, ”said midfielder Kalvin Phillips.
“Out of solidarity with the football community, I will abstain from my social networks this weekend. In our society there is no place for any kind of abuse, online or not, and for too long it has been easy for a small number of people to show hatred behind their screens, ”said Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton.
– Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) April 30, 2021
Two years ago a similar campaign took place for 24 hours. The same protest under the hashtag #Enough (“Enough”) that players and teams have regretted the lack of improvement since then. Andros Townsend told BBC Sport that the boycott will serve as a warning and that in the absence of stricter platform regulations, it will declare “an unlimited blackout”.