Thierry Henry shows social media red card until platforms crack down on racist abuse world news
Thierry Henry will disable his social media accounts, saying he will not return until those responsible treat racial abuse with the same severity as they approach copyright infringement.
The former Arsenal and France striker isn’t the first high-profile female athlete to raise the issue of racist abuse online, but he is the first to announce he’s moving away from him Twitter, Facebook and Instagram until more is done to address the problem.
Henry, 43, posted a statement on all of his social media accounts on Friday.
He wrote: “Starting tomorrow (Saturday) morning, I will remove myself from social media until those in power are able to regulate their platforms with the same force and ferocity that they currently do if you violate copyright law.
“The sheer volume of racism, bullying and the resulting psychological torture for individuals is too toxic to ignore.
“There has to be some accountability.
“It’s way too easy to create an account, use it to bully and harass you without consequence, and still remain anonymous. Until that changes, I’ll deactivate my accounts on all social platforms.”
“I hope that happens soon.”
Henry has tremendous international pull having also played for the Barcelona and New York Red Bulls before becoming an expert after retiring.
His official Facebook page has 10 million followers, while he has another 2.7 million on Instagram and 2.3 million on Twitter.
Henry didn’t elaborate on what abuse he received on these platforms, but there is a long list of black and mixed race gamers, both men and women, who have received abuse.
Marcus Rashford also chose not to publish the details of the racist abuse he was subjected to, however called for a zero tolerance policy from the social media companies to offenders.
His Manchester United Teammate Anthony Martial also posted abuse he received online, as did Chelsea’s Reece James and sister Lauren, who plays for Manchester United.
A spokesman for Facebook, which also owns Instagram, said: “We don’t want discriminatory abuse on Instagram and remove it if we find it.
“Between October and December last year, we edited 6.6 million hate speeches on Instagram, 95% of which were found before anyone told us about it.
“We recently announced that we will take tougher action if we find people breaking our rules in DMs (direct messages), and we’ve developed tools to help people protect themselves.”
“We will continue this work and know that these problems are bigger than us. That is why we work with others to jointly drive social change through action and education.”
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Instagram last month announced stricter penalties for those who direct message abuse. However, this has raised questions about how they define racist abuse and whether the new sanctions go far enough.
Some footballers have also called for an end to online anonymity, asking users to provide official ID in order to create an account.
But Facebook said if it insisted on using government IDs or passport details, it would ban access to the very people who use its platforms to build communities.
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