Explained: Sports boycott social media

Sports organisations will not be using any of their social media accounts including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter from 3pm on Friday 30th April until 11:59pm Monday 3rd May.

Among those big sports companies are Kent FA, Kent Cricket and local football clubs including Gillingham FC and Margate FC.

Why is it happening?

The reason for the boycott is accounts and organisations are demanding that these social media platforms have to do more to tackle the abuse that is spread around their platforms.

Individuals and organisations are reposting this image on their social media profiles to raise awareness of what is happening urging Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to do more when tackling abuse that is said on their platforms towards players and many others.

Who is involved?

There are very few associations, clubs and individuals that are not boycotting social media. The Premier League, Professional Football Association (PFA) and The English Football League (EFL) are the main drivers of the movement.

What are clubs doing?

Clubs have started to sanction fans and accounts that they can identify that are spreading abuse and hate across platforms towards players after games. Manchester United sanctioned six individuals after alleged abuse towards Tottenham‘s Heung-Min Son. Chelsea also issued a sanction to an individual who posted antisemitic messages online, the individual has received a 10 year ban.

The Premier League have also tweeted that: “This boycott alone will not eradicate it, we will not stop challenging social media companies until discriminatory online abuse is removed from our game and wider society.

Ian Wright, former Arsenal and England striker, has expressed that people in charge of these platforms have to do more.

Is it just sports clubs?

No, English sport broadcast outlets are also participating in the boycott. BT expressed their feelings through twitter using #DrawTheLine. Sharing a video on how their BT Sport on-air team experience abuse.

Is this happening just in the UK?

As well as English media boycotting, UEFA are also taking part. UEFA President, Aleksander Ceferin, has spoken out about abuse: “There have been abuses both on the pitch and on social media. This is unacceptable and needs to be stopped, with the help of the public and legislative authorities and the social media giants. This is why we are supporting this initiative. It is time for football to take a stand and I have been impressed with the solidarity shown by the players, clubs and stakeholders.”


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A post shared by UEFA (@uefa_official)

What are the stats?

A thread on Twitter by BT Sport using YouGov statistics has shown how frequent abuse is being shared on social media and directed at people. More than five million people have received online abuse in the last 12 months, also sharing that half of the population have seen online abuse in the past year.

What are social media platforms doing about it?

Twitter confirmed in February that they will not end the practice of allowing people to post from anonymous accounts.

In their statement, “We are acutely aware that many high-profile users can, at times, be particularly vulnerable to abuse and harassment.

“As long as any one person is targeted with abusive behaviour on our service, our work will not be done.

“We will continue to challenge this abhorrent behaviour at source along with our football partners and other social media companies.

“We join our partners in condemning racism and we will continue to play our part in tackling this unacceptable behaviour – both online and offline. We want to reiterate – there is no room for racist abuse on Twitter.”

Facebook and Instagram are yet to comment on the social media boycott.