Death threats. Racist and sexual insults. And social media accounts that are still active even after the outrage.
English football has reached a turning point as players, coaches, referees and authorities are upset about the continuing spread of hatred directed against them on Instagram and Twitter.
Reports to police by the Premier League’s most prominent referee led to him being threatened with physical injury and more black players being attacked by racist users, leading to Instagram’s pledge to take action against hate, but this was undermined by the indulgence it showed towards attackers.
This is why soccer executives in England took their concerns to the heads of social media giants, coming together to send an unprecedented joint message to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his Twitter counterpart Jack Dorsey. , Who calls on platforms to stop being a “haven of abuse”, by taking tougher measures to eradicate evil.
“Their inaction has created a conviction in the minds of anonymous authors that they are out of reach,” read the letter, which included officials from the Football Association, the English Premier League, the Women’s Premier League and organizations representing the players. Directors and referees.
A senior anti-discrimination official in soccer believes it is time to step back so that meaningful action can be taken.
“Maybe they need to do a boycott of their own,” said Piara Pawar, CEO of FARE. “Can you imagine if the Premier League clubs, even symbolically for one day this year, called for a boycott of their fans’ use of social media, didn’t post anything for a day, and then continued to do so? Platforms showing serious intentions?” “he added.
“Because there is no doubt, although soccer problems are probably just a small sample of what Facebook faces in the world, if the level of football participation brings … they won’t want it. Just don’t lose that.”
But platforms that allow players to interact with fans and monetize endorsements can also be used for good deeds.
Manchester United and England striker Marcus Rashford showed it after he took to Twitter last year for a campaign against child poverty. It has used more than four million subscribers to pressure the government to provide free school meals during the coronavirus pandemic.
“He wasn’t there 10 or 15 years ago, and we’re fortunate to have him, to connect with people from all over the world of different cultures and religions,” Rashford said on Sky Sports TV. “Seeing people using it in a negative way is a bit ridiculous. Hope they can solve this problem.”