Social media companies must do more to stop online abuse. That is why, this weekend, English football is coming together with other sports and organisations, to boycott social media and demand change.
After the activity was first raised by Championship Clubs, the EFL will join Clubs, leagues and other governing bodies and organisations across English football and wider sport in switching off our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram 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 footballers and people in the game, as well as others across the world, which goes without any real-world consequences for perpetrators.
We know that a boycott alone with 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 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.
How can you help?
By reporting online abuse, you can help stop the behaviour and protect other people from seeing the abusive content. Online abuse does not have to be experienced directly by someone in order for that person to report. Everyone has a responsibility to report online hate they see.
EFL Chair, Rick Parry, said: "I think it's extraordinarily important that we come together to send a really strong message to social media companies and, more importantly, people who use social media.
"Enough is enough, and this alone isn't going to stop it. We hope it sends a really strong reminder, because football is massive within social media. Social media is massive for us as well and we want to work responsibly; there's been a lot of talk and correspondence but this is about action.
"I think it's important that others join us: that celebrities, fans, the media and journalists will come on board, as well as other sports. This is something that impacts all of us and the more that join in, the better."