Social media companies must do more to stop online abuse. That is why this weekend English football is coming together with other sports and organisations, to boycott social media and demand change.

The Ladbrokes Northwest Football Awards will join clubs, leagues and other governing bodies and organisations across English football and wider sport in switching off our social media accounts, from 3.00 pm on Friday, 30th April to 11.59 pm on Monday, 3rd May.

Why are we boycotting social media?

We want to demonstrate our collective anger at the constant abuse on social media received by players, coaches, officials and other people in the game, as well as many others across the world, which goes without any real-world consequences for perpetrators.  We know that a boycott alone with not eradicate the scourge of online discriminatory abuse, which is why we will continue to take proactive steps to call for change. We will not stop challenging social media companies until we see enough progress.

What change do we want to see?

We are asking for significant action from social media companies, including:

  • Apply preventative filtering and blocking measures to stop discriminatory abuse being sent or seen
  • Be accountable for safety on platforms and protect users by implementing effective verification
  • Ensure real-life consequences for online discriminatory abuse: ban perpetrators, stop account re-registration and support law enforcement
  • A warning message to be displayed if a user writes an abusive message and need to enter personal data if they wish to send the message
  • Platforms to have robust, reliable and quick measures in place if abusive material is sent or posted
  • Transparent quarterly reports on the work social media companies are doing, internally and externally, to eradicate abuse on their platforms.

We are also urging 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.

Through the Football Online Hate Working Group, we will continue to explore further solutions and necessary action required against online discriminatory abuse, working alongside our partners in football, as well as law enforcement, Twitter and Facebook.

How can you help?

If you have experienced or witnessed discrimination on social media, you can report it to us through our online reporting form. You can also make your local police force aware by filing a report here.

You can also report posts to the respective social media channels by using the following links:
Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | TikTok | Snapchat | YouTube

By reporting online abuse, you can help stop the behaviour and protect other people from seeing the abusive content. Online abuse does not have to be experienced directly by someone in order for that person to report it. Everyone has a responsibility to report online hate.

Laura Wolfe of the Ladbrokes Northwest Football Awards (NWFA) said, “The fact that all footballing bodies and stakeholders are coming together as one should be a clear message that things must change.  People should no longer be allowed to abuse others namelessly and facelessly online and social media companies need to take proper action to #STOPONLINEABUSE.  The NWFA is proud to stand with our colleagues across the football family and will continue to support the move for significant change in the way people are allowed to behave online. Enough is enough.”

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Maurice Watkins
Northwest Football Awards 2021