Thierry Henry on social media: "The sheer volume of racism, bullying and resulting mental torture to individuals is too toxic to ignore. There HAS to be some accountability. It is far too easy to create an account, use it to bully and harass without consequence and still remain anonymous."
Friday 26 March 2021 21:39, UK
Thierry Henry says he is quitting social media until online abuse is regulated "with the same vigour and ferocity" that copyright infringements are.
Henry, who recently left his role as Montreal Impact head coach, is demanding accountability from social media companies and says he will keep himself off their platforms until it is no longer easy to create an account with the intention of harassing another user and remaining anonymous.
The former Arsenal, Barcelona and New York Red Bulls striker wrote on his social media accounts: "From tomorrow (Saturday) morning I will be removing myself from social media until the people in power are able to regulate their platforms with the same vigour and ferocity that they currently do when you infringe copyright...
"The sheer volume of racism, bullying and resulting mental torture to individuals is too toxic to ignore. There HAS to be some accountability. It is far too easy to create an account, use it to bully and harass without consequence and still remain anonymous.
"Until this changes, I will be disabling my accounts across all social platforms. I'm hoping this happens soon."
Henry's official Facebook page has 10m followers, while he has a further 2.7m followers on Instagram and 2.3m followers on Twitter.
In a statement to Sky Sports News, a Facebook company spokesperson said: "We don't want discriminatory abuse on Instagram and we remove it when we find it. Between October and December last year, we took action on 6.6 million pieces of hate speech content on Instagram, 95 per cent of which we found before anyone reported it to us.
"We recently announced that we'll take tougher action when we become aware of people breaking our rules in DMs and we have built tools to help people protect themselves.
"We'll continue this work, and know these problems are bigger than us, so are working with others to collectively drive societal change through action and education. We're committed to our ongoing work with the industry, government and others including our work with Kick It Out."
Twitter referred Sky Sports News to its latest announcement of measures to combat this "abhorrent" behaviour, titled "No room for racist behaviour on Twitter".
Back in July 2020, the World Cup winner took a knee for eight minutes and 46 seconds ahead of Impact's MLS game with New England Revolution in a stand against racism following the death of George Floyd.
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