#StopOnlineAbuse: English football comes together to boycott social media and demand change

30 April 2021

#StopOnlineAbuse: English football comes together to boycott social media and demand change

Social media companies must do more to stop online abuse. That is why this weekend English football is coming together with other sports, organisations, and individuals, to boycott social media and demand change.

Women in Football will join clubs, leagues and other governing bodies and organisations across English football and wider sport in switching off our social media accounts, from 3pm Friday 30 April to 11.59pm on Monday 3 May. 

Why are we boycotting social media?

We want to demonstrate our collective anger at the constant abuse on social media received by players, coaches, officials, and other people in the game, as well as many others across the world, which goes without any real-world consequences for perpetrators.

We know that a boycott alone will not eradicate the scourge of online discriminatory abuse, which is why we will continue to take proactive steps to call for change. We will not stop challenging social media companies until we see enough progress.

What change do we want to see?

We are asking for significant action from social media companies, including:

  • Apply preventative filtering and blocking measures to stop discriminatory abuse from being sent or seen
  • Be accountable for safety on platforms and protect users by implementing effective verification
  • Ensure real-life consequences for online discriminatory abuse: ban perpetrators, stop account re-registration and support law enforcement
  • A warning message to be displayed if a user writes an abusive message and need to enter personal data if they wish to send the message
  • Platforms to have robust, reliable and quick measures in place if abusive material is sent or posted
  • Transparent quarterly reports on the work social media companies are doing, internally and externally, to eradicate abuse on their platforms

We are also urging 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. 

Through the Football Online Hate Working Group, we will continue to explore further solutions and necessary action required against online discriminatory abuse, working alongside our partners in football, as well as law enforcement, Twitter and Facebook.

How can you help?

If you have experienced or witnessed discrimination on social media, you can report it to us through our online reporting form. You can also make your local police force aware by filing a report here

You can also report posts to the respective social media channels by using the following links: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | TikTok | Snapchat | YouTube

By reporting online abuse, you can help stop the behaviour and protect other people from seeing abusive content. Online abuse does not have to be experienced directly by someone in order for that person to report it. Everyone has a responsibility to report online hate.

Jane Purdon, CEO, Women in Football said: "Women working across the game - as players, coaches, officials and in the media - can face horrendous levels of discriminatory abuse with real consequences for their wellbeing. Social media plays a critical role in civil society. It is vital that all can contribute to the conversations on social media with confidence, and in safety, which is why the Government’s Online Safety Bill is so important.

"Women in Football stand shoulder to shoulder with all people who have been affected by abuse on social media. We are united with the rest of football in calling for action to eliminate hatred online and through this boycott, we are sending a clear message. It’s time for change!”

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