English football to unite in social media boycott


nglish football will unite for a social media boycott to highlight the ongoing fight against online abuse and discrimination of players and those involved in the game.

The Football Association (FA), Premier League, English Football League (EFL), FA Women’s Super League (WSL), FA Women’s Championship, Women In Football, PFA, LMA, PGMOL, Kick It Out and the FSA will carry out a simultaneous boycott of their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts from 3pm on Friday, April 30 until 11:59pm on Monday, May 3.

The unprecedented action will take on added significance given Premier League, EFL, WSL and Women’s Championship clubs will refrain from posting social media content across a full fixture programme.

The parties involved have also called on the UK Government to “ensure its Online Safety Bill will bring in strong legislation to make social media companies more accountable for what happens on their platforms”.

A joint statement read: “As a collective, the game recognises the considerable reach and value of social media to our sport. The connectivity and access to supporters who are at the heart of football remains vital.

“However, the boycott shows English football coming together to emphasise that social media companies must do more to eradicate online hate, while highlighting the importance of educating people in the ongoing fight against discrimination.”

While the parties involved accept that the boycott will not “eradicate the scourge of online discriminatory abuse”, they believe that the action will prove that football is “willing to take voluntary and proactive steps in this continued fight.”

The key powerbrokers of the English game acknowledge that “some progress has been made” by social media companies towards meeting the requests outlined in a previous letter sent this February, which included: urging filtering, blocking and swift takedowns of offensive posts; an improved verification process and re-registration prevention, and active assistance for law enforcement agencies to identify and prosecute originators of illegal content.

However, those involved now “reiterate those requests… in an effort to stem the relentless flow of discriminatory messages and ensure that there are real-life consequences for purveyors of online abuse across all platforms.”

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