The Football Writers’ Association is uniting with English football in a boycott of social media this weekend
This is in response to the ongoing and sustained discriminatory abuse received online by players on the pitch, coaching staff, match day officials and our members. The FWA will halt updates on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook from 15.00 on Friday April 30 to 23.59 on Monday May 3.
If they choose to, our members can support a full social media blackout in line with our accounts or report campaign updates throughout the weekend.
In a letter on February 11, English football outlined its requests to 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, we reiterate those requests today in an effort to stem the relentless flow of discriminatory messages and ensure that there are real-life consequences for purveyors of online abuse across all platforms.
Boycott action from football in isolation will, of course, not eradicate the scourge of online discriminatory abuse, but it will demonstrate that the game is willing to take voluntary and proactive steps in this continued fight.
Finally, while football takes a stand, 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.