English football officials said on Saturday they would take action to shut down the social network next weekend to protest “the ongoing and prolonged abuse of discrimination by players and many others. related to football ”.
The boycott was supported by a coalition of groups, including the Premier League, the richest and most senior soccer league in the world, as well as the English league; the top two professional ranks of men’s and women’s football; arbitration; Player’s union of the country and others.
The move is the sport’s most direct attempt to date to pressure social media companies like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to take action against online and on-going abuse. After a season where players, clubs, team executives, referees, female commentators and others are the target of abuse.
The social media boycott also came after a week of angry and street protests against top clubs and their owners who tried – and failed – creating a breakaway European Super League would keep them away from the many structures, including the payroll system, that have maintained football for a century. At each demonstration, there were many requests for owners of teams to sell.
Cases of harassment have been recorded online. In February, Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah posted a picture on Twitter with the caption “Work with a smile!”
The tweet has stumbled upon racist abuse from a Twitter user who told Nketiah, the Negro, to leave the club. Twitter responded by permanently suspending users’ accounts, Sky Sports reported.
Such harassment was incited not only by fans, but also by the club’s social media accounts. In December, commentator and former soccer player Karen Carney deleted her Twitter account after she received a wave of abuse online.
After Leeds United’s 5-0 win over West Brom, Carney on Amazon Prime Video Sport wondered if Leeds had “exploded at the end of the season.” A clip of her comment was shared by Leeds team Twitter account, resulting in a series of hateful messages directed at Carney.
Many on Twitter defended her and criticized those on the team’s social media, including former Leeds captain Rio Ferdinand, Who called to delete the tweet.
Bethany England, a Chelsea striker, called the Leeds social media team for “brutal behavior”.
“Cyber-bullying a female scholar and getting her to be abused massively online for her WORKING AND HAS MY OPINION!” He said.
In February, the top executives of the English Football Federation – the governing body of English football – the Premier League, and other organizations wrote an open letter to Jack Dorsey, chief executive officer of Twitter and Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Facebook, urged leaders to bring an end to the “levels of malicious, annoying abuse” that come from users on their platforms.
“The reality is that your platforms are still a paradise for abuse,” wrote football executives. “Your actions have created confidence in the anonymous perpetrators’ minds that they are out of reach.”
In the past, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter have taken steps, such as banning users temporarily or permanently, but the issue of online abuse persists.
In a newsletter announcing a boycott of social media, which will take place from Friday afternoon to Monday afternoon, English football urges the UK to “introduce strong legislation to make social media companies accountable. than what happens on their platform ”.
In the statement, Richard Masters, chief executive of the Premier League, said the tournament would continue to push social media companies to make changes to prevent online abuse.
“Racist behavior of any kind is unacceptable and the horrifying abuse we are seeing players get on social media platforms cannot continue,” Masters said. . “Football is a diverse sport that brings together communities and cultures from all backgrounds and this diversity makes the competition even stronger.”
This is not the first time that football has attempted to clear up racism.
For example, players and coaches in the Premier League and other top leagues, kneeling before the make-up game all season to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement – with the encouragement of the teams federation chief and with the assistance of federation officials
But some players and even entire teams, frustrated with the lack of specific progress on race issues and feeling the gesture has become more effective than effective, has recently stopped participating.
Crystal Palace striker Wilfried Zaha said he came to see kneeling as “degrading”, and said he would stop doing that and would focus his efforts elsewhere. Brentford, a team in the English Second Division Championships, in February halted before the match. While the players said in a statement that they still support anti-racism efforts, they said, “We believe we can use our time and energy to promote racial equality in other ways. “
The outage on social media will take place while the full range of matches from multiple leagues will take place, including a match between Manchester United and Liverpool, the defending Premier League champions.
Edleen John, director of international relations at the English Football Federation, said English football will not stop pressing for change after next weekend.
“It is unacceptable that people around the world English football and society at large continue to be subjected to daily discrimination online, with no real consequences for the perpetrator,” John said. , ”Said John. “Social media companies need to be held accountable if they continue to lack the ethical and social responsibility to address this pervasive problem.”