Football’s Social Media Boycott

The Bank Holiday weekend in May is a big occasion in English football, but this year is different. Protesting against social media’s inaction toward racist abuse online, in a rare move the major football organisations in England come together in a four-day boycott. Contrary to many actions, this has a real price, the social media attention around football this weekend is worth mucho dinero, but English football decides it’s more important to take a unified stand against racism and demand action from those who own the platforms where it is distributed. The demands are straight-forward:

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.

If this sounds familiar, it is not the first time anyone has brought demands that social media companies take responsibility for the negative impacts of the services they provide. The question is: who can make Big Tech step up? There are many candidates, but so far with limited success. Staff walk-outs have been tried, different flavours of government intervention, advertiser boycotts, share-holder protests, users departing… so far none of this has put more than a small dent in the stock price graphs of social media companies.

If users, owners, government, media, advertisers, or staff couldn’t influence Big Tech, perhaps footballers will?

Transparency: Premier League is one of Netopia’s supporters