Led by English football, on the weekend of Friday, April 30 to Monday, May 3, sport united across the world to call on social media companies to do more to stop online abuse.
Now the pressure is on social media companies to respond to the change we want to see on their platforms.
The combined following of the accounts who we know joined the social media boycott and supported our calls for change is estimated at more than 1.7billion, showing our requests to social media were shared far and wide across the United Kingdom and overseas.
Kick It Out, The FA, Premier League, EFL, FA Women’s Super League, FA Women’s Championship, PFA, LMA, PGMOL, the FSA and Women In Football led the initial boycott plans.
Soon gathering momentum, a range of other sports, organisations and individuals swiftly followed suit.
Alongside football, clubs and governing bodies of other sports across the UK, including rugby, cricket, tennis, cycling, horseracing, hockey and netball all took part, as well as brands, broadcasters and media outlets such as Barclays, Nationwide, Adidas, Nike, Sky Sports, BT Sport and talkSPORT.
All Formula 1 drivers boycotted their social channels, including Lewis Hamilton, alongside well-known sporting figures such as Lionel Messi. FA President Prince William also took part, alongside UEFA, FIFA and a number of international football associations.
However, we know a social media boycott alone is not enough. The boycott demonstrated the power of the collective voices involved, and now places pressure on social media companies to step up and use their powers to effect change.
While we know that social media brings communities together, and allows people to connect, that cannot be at the cost of others who receive abhorrent online abuse.
Plan for change
Below is the change we are calling for from social media companies:
– Preventative filtering and blocking measures to stop discriminatory abuse being sent or seen
– Accountability for safety on their platforms and protection of 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 a requirement 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 discriminatory abuse on their platforms
We also welcome the announcement of the Online Safety Bill in this week’s Queen’s Speech, and we are calling for it to be enacted in legislation as soon as possible.
This announcement represents progress, and we will continue working with Government to ensure measures are put in place as quickly as possible.
In the meantime, we are urging social media companies to act now to address abuse on their platforms before regulation is in place.
By reporting online discriminatory abuse, you can help stop this unacceptable behaviour and protect other people from seeing the abusive content. Everyone has a responsibility to report online hate .