Hundreds of sports personalities, clubs, and organizations including the news media have all teamed up together to announce a 4-day social media boycott in the UK. The boycott which began on Friday, will last until Monday. This is to register their displeasure and draw media and world attention to online bullying that has now assumed an alarming dimension.
The unified boycott will see popular soccer clubs like Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and a host of other interested organizations and media houses stay off Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for the length of the period.
Support has also come from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Lewis Hamilton, cricket organizations, rugby, tennis, F1, and other sports. The boycott which began 3pm Friday, will last until 23:59 BST on Monday. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in a joint tweet said: “As president of the FA, I join the entire football community in the social media boycott this weekend.”
Those involved in the action are jointly demanding that social media companies like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram take critical steps to arrest the ugly trend. the situation is worrisome; any situation that could lead to depression and affect the psyche of the social media community should be accorded all the attention it deserves.
Formula One world champion Hamilton wrote:
“To stand in solidarity with the football community, I will be going drawn on my social media channels this weekend.
“There is no place in our society for any kind of abuse, online or not, and for too long it’s been easy for a small few to post hate from behind their screens.
“While a boycott might not solve this issue overnight, we have to call for change when needed, even when it seems like an almost impossible task.
“Sport has the power to unite us. Let’s not accept abuse as part of sport, but instead let’s be the ones who make a difference for future generations.”
A recent survey conducted over a 17-month period between September 2019 and February 2021 by Manchester United showed just how bad things have become with online racial abuse.
The report showed that 3,300 abusive posts targeted at Manchester United players—86 percent of which were racist, while eight percent were homophobic – with Anthony Martial, Axel Tuanzebe and Fred all confirming that they have been racially abused at different times in recent months.
In March, former Arsenal and France International forward Thierry announced to the whole world that he was quitting Twitter social media over online racial abuse. Henry, one of the most respected voices online, said the problem is “too toxic to ignore” and vowed not to return until the “abuse is with the same vigor and ferocity.”