Take A Stand: Facebook and Kick It Out launch initiative empowering fans to call out discrimination

Facebook and Kick It Out to provide anti-discrimination toolkit, messenger reporting service, education programme with HOPE Not Hate and work pro-actively to remove hate speech; Kick It Out Chair: "We hope to turn bystanders into activists"

Facebook and Kick It Out united in campaign to tackle discrimination 4:08
Facebook has teamed up with Kick It Out for the 'Take A Stand' initiative, which aims to empower fans to call out discrimination wherever they see it

Facebook and Kick It Out have launched 'Take A Stand' - an action-led initiative giving fans the tools to empower them to call out discrimination wherever they see it.

Take A Stand spoke to fans across the English football leagues about their experiences regarding everything from targeted abuse in Sunday League games, to racist fan chants, homophobic slurs and group messaging exchanges.

Many of football fans spoken to admitted to not knowing how to react when they have seen or experienced discrimination first-hand, but agreed to stand against it and show that 'collectively as a group of football lovers, we aren't going to accept it'.

Facebook and Kick It Out will provide more easily accessible tools and resources such as:

  • Anti-discrimination toolkit - Accessible through WhatsApp by adding 07432 140 310 to your WhatsApp contacts, and messaging 'hi'. Fans will be sent a menu of educational content and resources from Kick it Out, The FA, HOPE Not Hate and other footballing partners. This free service is an accessible way to learn about tackling discrimination and the ways you can report it.
  • Messenger reporting service - When fans can safely return to stadiums, they can use this to report matchday discrimination directly to Kick It Out, who can act upon it immediately with the relevant authorities. This new solution is fan-friendly and avoids the issue of poor quality wi-fi in stadiums.
  • Education programme with HOPE not Hate - The programme aims to de-normalise any form of discriminatory language and empower silent bystanders to call it out wherever they see it. This pilot will be delivered through community and fan initiatives in partnership with the England national teams, Derby County and Portsmouth. Our ambition is to roll this out more broadly, reaching millions of fans over the next few years.
  • Our work to proactively remove hate speech - Over the last few years, we've tripled the size of our safety and security team to 35,000 and built artificial intelligence technology to proactively find and remove this type of content. Between July and September this year we took action on 22.1m pieces of hate speech content - 94.7 per cent of it before anyone reported it to us. For context in 2017, we only removed 23 per cent proactively.
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This is the message from Sky Sports presenters and reporters, who have united in supporting a new campaign aimed at raising awareness of online hate and abuse on social media

"By keeping the conversation going around discrimination in football, we hope to turn bystanders into activists, so that football can be a game that is enjoyed by all, free from abuse," Sanjay Bhandari, Kick It Out Chair, said.

"We know that social media in particular can be a battleground of hate. This is partly a behavioural and partly a technological problem. So we need behavioural and technological solutions. It is essential that we work with the social media companies to help solve these problems and encourage different behaviours."

'I didn't want to put myself at risk'

Take a stand stills - West Ham fan
Image: Jim Dolan, founder of Pride of Irons, West Ham's official LGBT Supporters Group

Founder of Pride of Irons, West Ham's official LGBT Supporters Group, Jim Dolan admitted to previously not wanting to confront discrimination happening around him.

"I didn't want to put myself at risk, I didn't want to put my boyfriend or my friends at risk.

"Through Facebook we've been able to reach people that we probably wouldn't normally be able to on a matchday and also speaking to other LGBT group and building that community across the whole game."

'Brothers and sisters are standing by your side'

Trevor Sealy, 52, Sunday League Player:
Image: Trevor Sealy says he feels relieved when he has more support against discrimination on Sunday League pitches

Trevor Sealy, 52, says he breathes a sigh of relief when he sees acts of solidarity when confronted with racism on Sunday League pitches.

On an incident in a Sunday League game he said: "At the last minute I got clipped and then you heard the other team say, we finally got the black b***. Even white team-mates didn't feel like anything would really be done about it, so they felt there was no point rising to it.

"We need to actively confront it, actively stand up to it. As a black man, I breathe a sigh of relief. It's not just down to us, white brothers and sisters are standing by your side."

Sky Sports stands united against Online Hate. For more information visit: www.skysports.com/againstonlinehate

If you see a reply to Sky Sports posts and/or content with an expression of hate on the basis of race, colour, gender, nationality, ethnicity, disability, religion, sexuality, age or class, please copy the URL to the hateful post or screengrab it and email againstonlinehate@skysports.com.

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