During a long bank holiday weekend, English football will boycott social networks. Since Friday, April 30, at 3 p.m., until Monday evening at midnight, which is a public holiday across the Channel, no club or any football authority will post a message on Facebook, Instagram and other Twitter.
All round ball bodies participate: Premier League (the first division), Football League (which represents the three lower divisions), English Football Association, Association of Referees, Women’s Championship, Union of Professional Footballers, Coaches Union, etc.
UEFA, the authority for football in Europe, has also joined the initiative, which has moreover gone beyond the sole framework of football: the Wimbledon tournament, the English rugby, cycling and cricket federations. are part of it. Just like, in the small world of Formula 1, British driver Lewis Hamilton, who said that “ [ses] social networks will remain black this weekend ”. The latter was imitated by his compatriots Lando Norris and George Russell, the Finnish Valtteri Bottas, the Dutchman Max Verstappen, the Monegasque Charles Leclerc, the Frenchman Esteban Ocon.
All intend to protest against the apathy of social networks in the fight against racist insults and discrimination online. Many players are regularly targeted by hate messages, but the authors of the messages, usually anonymous, are rarely worried.
A primarily symbolic gesture
Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford was the target of a series of racist messages on January 30. He responded on Twitter, denouncing “The worst of humanity and social networks”. “Yes, I am a black man and I am proud of it every day that I live. No one will make me feel any different ”, wrote the 23-year-old.
In February, the English football authorities wrote a joint letter to the management of major social networks. They asked them to put in place automatic filters against racist or discriminatory messages, to quickly remove them when they are identified, to put in place a system preventing authors from simply creating another account under a different name in the process, and until legal action if the messages appeared to violate the law.
“Although progress has been made, we reiterate our demands to reduce the constant flow of discriminatory messages and to ensure that the authors suffer the consequences in real life”, wrote the football authorities in their press release.
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