Sky Sports joins social media boycott this weekend to combat online abuse and discrimination

Sky Sports joins governing bodies, clubs and fellow broadcasters across UK sport in not posting on social media this weekend to combat online abuse and discrimination; suspension to last from 3pm on Friday to 11.59pm on Monday

Sky Sports will join football's social media boycott this weekend
Image: Sky Sports is joining the social media boycott this weekend, which sees sport unite in the fight against online hate

Sky Sports has joined the wider sporting community in a four-day boycott of social media in an attempt to tackle online abuse and discrimination.

Sky Sports will not post any sports content to its channels on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and Tik Tok for the duration of the boycott period from 3pm on Friday April 30 until 11.59pm on Monday May 3.

Sky Sports stands with our football, cricket and other sport partners to urge social media companies to do more to eradicate online hate and ensure social media can be a place for sports fans to discuss, debate and consume the best sporting action without discrimination and abuse.

Sky's partnership with Kick It Out is based on fighting discrimination and championing inclusion, and our action this weekend demonstrates our clear and enduring commitment to the cause.

Sky Sports TV channels, website (skysports.com) and two apps (Sky Sports app and Sky Sports Scores app) will remain the go-to destinations for sports fans to keep up to date with all the action, scores and sporting news throughout this exciting weekend of sport.

Sky Sports website and app has you covered

Head to the Sky Sports website and app to see lots of the good stuff you might usually enjoy on our social media platforms including:

- Premier League highlights

- EFL highlights

- Scottish Premiership goals

- Live Superleague Netball streams

- Live BBL and WBBL streams

- Free NBA stream: Nets @ Bucks

Who else is part of the boycott?

The FA, Premier League, EFL, FA Women's Super League, FA Women's Championship, PFA, LMA, PGMOL, Kick It Out and the FSA are uniting for the boycott from Friday through to Monday.

The Scottish FA, Scottish Professional Football League, Scottish Women's Football and PFA Scotland have also confirmed the participation of clubs and football organisations in Scotland.

UEFA also gave its backing on Thursday, urging players, clubs and national associations "to lodge formal complaints whenever players, coaches, referees or officials are victims of unacceptable tweets or messages".

FIFA also said it supports the English football-led social media boycott in response to discriminatory and offensive abuse on social media.

Football's world governing body added in a statement: "We believe that authorities and social media companies should take real and effective steps to put an end to these abhorrent practices because it's getting worse all the time and something needs to be done - and done quickly - to put a stop to it."

There will be a social media boycott to protest against online abuse running throughout this weekend
Image: The action sees football clubs and governing bodies switch off their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts

Key organisations from other UK sports - such as the England and Wales Cricket Board, England Rugby, Premiership Rugby, Scottish Rugby, the Professional Darts Corporation, British Cycling, the Lawn Tennis Association and the British Horseracing Authority - have opted to join, as have other broadcasters including BT Sport, At The Races and talkSPORT.

The British Basketball League and Women's British Basketball League will also support the boycott along with key rugby league organisations including the Rugby Football League, Super League Europe, Rugby League World Cup 2021 and the Rugby League Players' Association.

A joint statement released on Saturday by all the participating English football organisations said: "As a collective, the game recognises the considerable reach and value of social media to our sport. The connectivity and access to supporters who are at the heart of football remains vital.

"However, the boycott shows English football coming together to emphasise that social media companies must do more to eradicate online hate, while highlighting the importance of educating people in the ongoing fight against discrimination.

"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."

Premier League sponsors Nike, Budweiser, EA Sports and Barclays will also join the social media boycott.

Nike will not post on its Nike London and Global Football social media channels, while Budweiser has told Sky Sports News it will go off air for four days on its accounts.

Barclays will not post anything on its football channels - Barclays Football on Facebook and Instagram, Barclays Footy on Twitter - over the weekend and its other social channels will avoid any football-related activity.

What have the social media companies said?

A Twitter spokesperson told Sky Sports News: "Racist behaviour, abuse and harassment have absolutely no place on our service and alongside our partners in football, we condemn racism in all its forms.

"We are resolute in our commitment to ensure the football conversation on our service is safe for fans, players and everyone involved in the game.

"Since the season started on September 12, there have been over 30m Tweets from people in the UK about football. In that time we have removed over 7,000 Tweets in the UK that were targeting the football conversation with violations of the Twitter Rules. This represents roughly 0.02 per cent of the overall football conversation in the UK and does not reflect the vast majority of people who engage in vibrant discussions about football on Twitter.

"We have worked to improve our proactive measures, where now 90 per cent of the abuse targeting players is removed without the need for a user report. We've also provided expedited reporting channels to our football partners to ensure any potentially violative content is reviewed and actioned swiftly.

"Racism is a deep societal and complex issue and everyone has a role to play. We are committed to doing our part and continue to work closely with valued partners in football, government and police, along with the working group convened by Kick It Out to identify ways to tackle this issue collectively - both online and away from social media."

Facebook, who own Instagram, said they would "continue listening to feedback and fighting hate and racism on our platform" and work with UK police on hate speech.

A Facebook spokesperson said: "No one should have to experience abuse anywhere, and it's against our policies to harass or discriminate against people on Instagram or Facebook.

"We agree with and have already made progress on many of the players' suggestions, including taking tougher action against people breaking our rules in DMs.

"We also recently announced that, starting next week, we'll provide new tools, based on consultation with footballers and anti-discrimination experts, to help prevent people seeing abusive messages from strangers."

Sky Sports News has also contacted Snapchat, Tik Tok, and YouTube for a response.

Hate Won't Stop Us

Sky Sports is committed to making skysports.com and our channels on social media platforms a place for comment and debate that is free of abuse, hate and profanity.

For more information, please visit: www.skysports.com/hatewontstopus

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 us here.

Kick It Out reporting racism

Online Reporting Form | Kick It Out

Kick It Out is football's equality and inclusion organisation - working throughout the football, educational and community sectors to challenge discrimination, encourage inclusive practices and campaign for positive change.

www.kickitout.org

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