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Football: Racism on Social Media

By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw

Thierry Henry, the former Arsenal and France striker, has announced that “enough is enough” and that he has had to make a stand against racism on social media.

Henry, who is 43 years old and has 2.8 million followers on his ‘Twitter’ account said, last week, that, as a result, he was removing himself from social media because of bullying and racial hatred across these platforms.

The problem was too toxic for him to ignore any longer.

He added that “it’s not OK to get abused online, it’s not OK to be bullied or harassed online. The impact it can have on your mental health is second to none [and] we know people are committing suicides because of it.”

Gareth Bale, the Tottenham and Wales forward, has also entered the fray, stating that he would support a boycott of social media regarding this issue, if a campaign against it could be organised.

Twitter has stated that “it is committed to Kick It Out’s initiative to tackle online hate, and look forward to continuing these discussions and developing solutions with our partners in football.”

Instagram, which is owned Facebook, has informed the media that it took action on 6.6 million pieces of hate speech between October and December 2020 and will “take tougher action when we become aware of people breaking our rules in DMs [Direct Messages].”

As Thierry Henry has also stated: “we need actions [and] it is too easy to get an account and get away with it at times.”

Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw may be contacted by e-mail at ‘This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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