The world of English sport will unite from this Friday, until midnight next Monday, May 3, in a joint boycott of social networks with the aim of symbolically denouncing the abuse, hateful messages or continued racism that is athletes are exposed in their profiles.
This campaign (which will mainly extend to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter), encouraged by the “Kick it out” organization against racism in English football, was recently joined by the Union and the rugby league, cricket, tennis and cycling; and even corporate bodies, such as FIFA, UEFA, or Barclays bank, among others.
Along the same lines, Chelsea emphasized the anti-Semitic messages, before which they opened an investigation that ended with the expulsion of an individual from the team for ten years. “Our players, staff, fans and visitors to the club come from a wide range of backgrounds, including Jewish, and we want to ensure that everyone feels safe, valued, and included,” he added.
Leading figures on the British sports scene have also spoken, such as Formula 1’s seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton, of Afro-British origin, who reported that although this boycott does not “solve the problem in one night”, it will disappear from their networks this weekend in solidarity with the British football community.
“Sport has the power to unite us. Let us reject abuse as part of sport, and let us be the ones who make a difference for future generations,” added the pilot on his Instagram account.
Formula 1 will not be officially involved in the boycott as an organization, although the body issued a statement on social networks in which it ratified its commitment to “online or otherwise” discrimination.
The president of the organization “Kick it out”, Sanjay Bhandari, confessed that the boycott means the “collective anger” of English football against hatred on social networks. and Crystal Palace winger Andros Townsend added that this boycott will launch a “warning” to platforms to change, or else the blackout will be “final.”
Some players such as former French Arsenal striker Thierry Henry have already decided to withdraw from social media due to racist messages and intimidation received on their profiles.
In fact, a BBC Sport poll uncovered that a third of the participants, elite British athletes, had suffered abuse on their social networks.
For this reason, English sport trusts with this 4-day boycott to give a wake-up call to the executives of social networks – to whom they already sent a letter last February – and urge them to improve their actions to eradicate hatred on their platforms.
Among the actions requested are the “quick blocking and elimination of offensive posts”, as well as an “improved verification process”, “re-registration prevention” or the control of the profiles that originate the hate messages.
For its part, Instagram recently announced that it will include a tool that allows users to “filter abusive messages” from unknown profiles; and Twitter admitted in a statement that it will ensure that conversations are “safe” and that, in the UK alone, and since the start of the season in September, it has “proactively” removed more than 5,000 football tweets that violate its rules. .