Arsenal stars could BOYCOTT social media in fight against online abuse

Arsenal stars could BOYCOTT social media and follow club legend Thierry Henry’s example in the fight against online abuse after their ex-striker said he was disabling his accounts until the big firms regulated their platforms

  • Arsenal players have held talks about coming off of social media platforms
  • The club have launched a campaign in effort to fight against online abuse 
  • Thierry Henry disabled his accounts in protest against social media firms
  • Gunners icon vowed not to re-activate them until their platforms are regulated 

Arsenal players have held talks about the prospect of following the lead of their club legend Thierry Henry and boycotting social media.

Arsenal further increased the pressure on social media companies to tackle the issue by launching their own campaign called #StopOnlineAbuse.

Gunners’ players from across the club have been heavily involved in wide-ranging discussions on the issue in the lead up to Tuesday’s launch of their own action plan to help stamp out ‘hateful, racist and discriminatory words.’

Arsenal players have held talks about boycotting social media in fight to stop online abuse

The move would also see the club’s women’s side come off sites like Twitter and Instagram

And among the conversations held between club chiefs and players from both the men’s and women’s teams, the idea of them taking matters into their own hands and all coming off sites like Twitter and Instagram was raised.

Henry became the most high-profile sports star to decide enough was enough and quit social media.

The former striker disabled his accounts on Saturday vowing not to reactivate them until the companies ‘regulate their platforms with the same vigour and ferocity that they currently do when you infringe copyright.’

He added: ‘It is far too easy to create an account, use it to bully and harass without consequence and still remain anonymous. The sheer volume of racism, bullying and resulting mental torture to individuals is too toxic to ignore.’

Arsenal icon Thierry Henry cranked up the pressure on social media firms to tackle the issue by disabling his accounts and vowing not to re-activate them until their platforms are regulated

The Arsenal legend called on social media firms to do more to combat ‘bullying and racism’

Arsenal said: ‘Across football and beyond we’ve seen an online world poisoned by hateful, racist and discriminatory words. We cannot underestimate the impact abuse has on individuals and the recent spate of abuse needs to be a wake-up call.

‘We all need to work together to drive out this behaviour. We know that we have a crucial role to play in bringing about real change.’

A number of Arsenal’s stars have been among those footballers subjected to abhorrent racist abuse on social media including Eddie Nketiah, Willian and Granit Xhaka.

Xhaka also spoke out about the issue, having also received sickening messages aimed at his family.

For now Arsenal are treating each incident on a case-by-case basis, with any call on further action as a group to be led by their players.

But there is a growing sense among the Premier League clubs that, in the continued absence of any firm action from the social media companies, a tipping point is coming and it will not be long before a club’s entire squad decide to make a collective stand.

Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah is one of several players to suffer abuse on social media this season

Willian revealed last month he was subjected to racist abuse on Instagram after a match

The Brazilian posted on his story the two different direct message threads on Instagram 

Arsenal issued a four-point list of demands to social media companies, including adding their voices to calls for users to be verified with ID, that offensive messages be blocked before they are even received and for sites to significantly improve their measures to deal with abusive posts.

Also as part of their campaign, Arsenal have set up a taskforce of senior officials from across the club to provide ’emotional and practical’ support to their players if they receive abuse.

That will include members of the club’s legal, security and stadium teams as well as the executive team and media and communications department.

That approach will enable them to advise their players on how to protect and manage their accounts but also be on hand to help if they do receive any abuse.

Arsenal also reiterated their vow to ban any member guilty of sending abuse and support any legal action that may follow.

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