Building on our Stop Online Abuse campaign, we are joining The FA, Premier League, EFL, FA Women’s Super League, FA Women’s Championship, PFA, LMA, PGMOL, Kick It Out, Women in Football and the FSA for a social media boycott from 15.00 on Friday, April30 to 23.59 on Monday, May 3.
This has been scheduled to take place across a full fixture programme in the men’s and women’s professional game and will see us switching off our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Twitch, YouTube and LinkedIn accounts.
While we realise social media is one of the ways we can feel closer to our supporters across the world, across football and beyond we’ve seen an online world poisoned by hateful, racist and discriminatory words. We have seen our own players and legends and many of the Arsenal family receiving abuse and we cannot underestimate the impact it has. A boycott action from football in isolation will not eliminate the issue of online discriminatory abuse, but it will continue the emphasis on asking social media companies to do more to eradicate online hate.
In February 2021, English football outlined its requests of social media companies, urging filtering, blocking and swift takedowns of offensive posts, an improved verification process and re-registration prevention, plus active assistance for law enforcement agencies to identify and prosecute originators of illegal content. While some progress has been made, the weekend’s boycott will serve as a reminder of the requests.
While football takes a stand, together we urge 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, as discussed at the DCMS Online Abuse roundtable earlier this week.
Our chief executive, Vinai Venkatesham, said: “We really cannot underestimate the impact that social media abuse can have on an individual. We need to come together to solve this because this is a moment in time. If we don’t make positive progress I really, really worry about the path we are heading on.”
Arsenal’s participation in the social media boycott adds to a number of actions we’ve taken to bring about change and fulfil our responsibility to protect our players and our diverse, global family and stamp out abuse. You can read more about these actions here.
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