English football leagues announce social media boycott for racist abuse

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Premier League teams won’t use social media for three days next week. (Photo by Michael Regan / Getty Images)

Almost every professional league in England will be dark for three days next week.

The FA, Premier League, EFL, FA Women’s Super League, FA Women’s Championship, PFA, LMA, PGMOL, Kick It Out, Women in Football and the FSA announced on Saturday that they had their Facebook, Twitter – and Instagram accounts will close from April 30th to May 3rd.

The boycott is in response to “persistent and persistent discriminatory abuse received online by players and many others related to football”.

English football leagues are urging social media companies and governments to change

When they announced their boycott, the English soccer organizations called on social media companies to take more active action against online hatred and educate people about the fight against discrimination.

The heads of the organizations had already published a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, and Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, in February, in which they asked the executives to filter out content with racist or discriminatory material and to block the identity of the users to scrutinize more strictly and actively assist authorities in investigating discriminatory measures.

Racial abuse has long been a common feature in the social media experiences of soccer players both domestically and internationally, and has become an even more pressing issue in the year since the murder of George Floyd.

The football organizations called on the UK government to enforce the proposed online safety law. Under the controversial law, social media companies are fined up to 10 percent of their annual sales if they are found to have failed to protect impressionable users from illegal material. Companies could also be blocked in the UK if it turns out to be non-compliant.

Edleen John, FA director of international relations, had this to say:

“It is simply unacceptable that people throughout English football and society should continue to be exposed to discriminatory abuse online on a daily basis with no real consequences for the perpetrators.”

“This has to change quickly and we continue to urge social media companies to take action now to address this issue. We will not stop talking about this issue and will continue to work with the government to ensure that the Online Security Act provides sufficient regulatory and supervisory powers over Ofcom. “

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