Arsenal will take part in a social media blackout next weekend as they join forces with The FA, Premier League, EFL, Women’s Super League and various other football bodies to raise awareness of online abuse.
The Gunners’ social platforms across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Twitch, YouTube and LinkedIn will not post anything between 3pm on Friday, 30 April and midnight on Monday, 4 May.
The boycott, which comes a month after the club launched their #stoponlineabuse campaign, will include Arsenal’s fixture at Newcastle United on Sunday.
In a statement, the club wrote: “While we realise social media is one of the ways we can feel closer to our supporters across the world, across football and beyond we’ve seen an online world poisoned by hateful, racist and discriminatory words. We have seen our own players and legends and many of the Arsenal family receiving abuse and we cannot underestimate the impact it has. A boycott action from football in isolation will not eliminate the issue of online discriminatory abuse, but it will continue the emphasis on asking social media companies to do more to eradicate online hate.
“In February 2021, English football outlined its requests of social media companies, urging filtering, blocking and swift takedowns of offensive posts, an improved verification process and re-registration prevention, plus active assistance for law enforcement agencies to identify and prosecute originators of illegal content. While some progress has been made, the weekend’s boycott will serve as a reminder of the requests.
“While football takes a stand, together 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.”
In response to the sustained discriminatory abuse received online by players and others connected to the game, English football will unite for a social media boycott from 15:00 BST on Fri 30 April to 23:59 BST on Mon 3 May
— Premier League (@premierleague) April 24, 2021
The Premier League’s CEO, Richard Masters, also released a statement:
“Racist behaviour of any form is unacceptable and the appalling abuse we are seeing players receive on social media platforms cannot be allowed to continue.
“The Premier League and our clubs stand alongside football in staging this boycott to highlight the urgent need for social media companies to do more in eliminating racial hatred.
“We will not stop challenging social media companies and want to see significant improvements in their policies and processes to tackle online discriminatory abuse on their platforms.”