Doncaster Rovers to unite with others across the game in boycotting social media this weekend
Doncaster Rovers will join with other clubs and sporting organisations in boycotting social media this weekend in order to demand change in efforts to stop online abuse.
From 3pm on Friday, April 30, to 11.59pm on Monday, May 3, social media accounts will be switched off to demonstrate the anger towards the lack of action taken against those who post abuse messages to footballers and individuals in the game.
The aim of the boycott is to send a strong message to social media companies that they must play a much greater role in preventing abusive messages from being sent.
In announcing their participation in the boycott, Rovers stated the action they wish to see from companies:
“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.”
Anyone witnessing any discriminatory abuse on social media is urged to report it to anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out and local police. All the major social media channels have facilities for reporting abusive posts also.
Rovers’ group head of marketing and communications Shaun Lockwood said: “The collective social media boycott is an important first step when it comes to highlighting the hugely damaging effect that social media abuse can have on people’s lives.
“We all want to see an end to discriminatory abuse online and to achieve that there need to be stronger preventative and takedown measures in place to stop discriminatory abuse being sent or seen, and ensure that there are real-life consequences and accountability for perpetrators.
“The more people that join the boycott, the more of an impact the boycott will have and we’re encouraging all of our staff, and fans to join us.”
Boycotts have taken place previously but there is a growing anger in the game at the lack of action from social media companies in eradicating abuse.
Manchester United conducted their own analysis and reported a 350 per cent increase in abuse directed towards their players, including 3,300 targeted posts between September 2019 and February 2021. Of those posts, 86 per cent were racist, with eight per cent homophobic or transphobic.
Kick It Our chairman Sanjay Bhandari said: "This boycott signifies our collective anger.
"By removing ourselves from the platforms, we are making a symbolic gesture to those with power. We need you to act. We need you to create change."