Football clubs are pushing social media platforms to combat online hate.
Rabat – A social media boycott by British football clubs is gaining traction online with a growing number of organizations joining the initiative. English football clubs today started a four-day boycott, pledging to stay off social media to protest online hate, racism, and bullying.
At 3 p.m. in Britain, football clubs across the country started their boycott after using the popular communication platforms to post messages against cyberbullying and online hate speech.
Using the hashtag #StopOnlineAbuse, various clubs posted messages in support of the online campaign in the minutes ahead of its launch.
The English Premier League, one of the most popular football leagues worldwide, joined with the lower division English Football League and anti-racism campaigners Kick it Out to protest Silicon Valley social media companies and their policies against hate speech.
The initiative soon grew with other sporting organizations also taking part, including English national organizations representing cricket, rugby, and lawn tennis.
The initiative spread rapidly online, becoming viral on most of the targeted social media platforms. Soon other noteworthy organizations joined the protest, including European footballing body UEFA and Cairo-based Zamalek Sporting Club.
British broadcaster BBC announced it supported the campaign but could not refrain from social media because of its “special duties that don’t apply to other organisations under our Royal Charter and editorial guidelines that prevent us from joining lobbying campaigns.”
The social media boycott aims to push social media giants into tightening their control on the level of free speech allowed on their platforms, with a particular focus on cyber bullying, hate speech, and racism.
A large group of football stars, commentators, and supporters pledged on social media that they too would join the boycott.