English football to boycott social media
Manchester United will join the rest of English football next weekend for a social media boycott from 15:00 BST on Friday 30 April to 23:59 BST on Monday 3 May, in response to the ongoing and sustained discriminatory abuse received online by players and many others connected to football.
This has been scheduled to take place across a full fixture programme in the men’s and women’s professional game and will see clubs across the Premier League, EFL, WSL and Women’s Championship switch off their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
The boycott will 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.
Boycott action from football in isolation will, of course, not eradicate the scourge of online discriminatory abuse, but it will demonstrate that the game is willing to take voluntary and proactive steps in this continued fight.
While football takes a stand, the UK Government is also urged to ensure its Online Safety Bill will bring in strong legislation to make social media companies more accountable for what happens on their platforms.
“The Premier League and our clubs stand alongside football in staging this boycott to highlight the urgent need for social media companies to do more in eliminating racial hatred. We will not stop challenging social media companies and want to see significant improvements in their policies and processes to tackle online discriminatory abuse on their platforms.”
This action follows the launch of United’s anti-discrimination campaign, SEE RED, earlier this month. It called on fans to celebrate the contribution of the club’s black and Asian players and to speak up for those who are on the receiving end of discrimination.
The club has set up a new online reporting system for fans to use. A new user-friendly reporting form, available via manutd.com/seered, can be used to report any instances online. United will work with the Premier League to escalate any complaints received to the social media platforms and the relevant authorities.