English soccer teams and organizations are all shutting down their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts for the weekend as part of a massive social media blackout to advocate for better policies regarding discrimination and abuse that players and members of clubs receive on those platforms.
English football will unite for a social media boycott from 3pm on Friday 30 April to 11:59pm on Monday 3 May, in response to the ongoing and sustained discriminatory abuse received online by players and many others connected to the game.https://t.co/GYTAuWAEgN pic.twitter.com/dNLuv62nw5— FA Spokesperson (@FAspokesperson) April 24, 2021
Groups participating in the blackout include the Premier League, the English Football League, the Professional Footballers’ Association, the Football Association, the League Managers Association, the Football Supporters’ Association, and more. Clubs that are part of the Premier League, EFL, Barclays FA Women’s Super League, and Women’s Championship will all be shutting down their social channels over the weekend as part of the protest.
The blackout comes after the various English soccer organizations banded together in February to request changes from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in an open letter requesting that the companies take stronger action against discriminatory and racist comments.
We are switching off our social media channels from 3pm on Friday 30 April, until 23:59pm on Monday 3 May, in response to sustained and ongoing online abuse.#Enough | #StopOnlineAbuse pic.twitter.com/toiIg3FfWW— Raheem Sterling (@sterling7) April 30, 2021
Specifically, the soccer groups advocated for four improvements: that posts be blocked or filtered if they contain racist or discriminatory material; that abusive posts be removed through “robust, transparent, and swift measures”; the addition of improved verification processes to allow for law enforcement to identify users and to stop abusive posters from making new accounts; and that the platforms work closer with law enforcement groups to identify people posting discriminatory content in cases where it breaks the law.
The leagues hope this weekend’s boycott will build on that movement, noting that while progress has been made, players, teams, and other members of the English football world still feel that there’s a lot more that Facebook and Twitter could do to help stop internet abuse.