Football great Thierry Henry has decided to take a strong stand against racism and bullying on social media platforms and has announced he will be disabling his accounts till authorities take substantial action. Henry said in his statement that “the people in power” are very quick to react to copyright infringement but do not show the same “vigour and ferocity” when it comes to taking action against racism and bullying online.
Henry further said it has become very easy for individuals to create accounts to “bully and harass” people and “still remain anonymous”.
As he announced his decision, he said he hoped the change will come soon.
Here is Henry’s statement:
From tomorrow morning I will be removing myself from social media until the people in power are able to regulate their platforms with the same vigour and ferocity that they currently do when you infringe copyright. The sheer volume of racism, bullying and resulting mental torture to individuals is too toxic to ignore. There HAS to be some accountability. It is far too easy to create an account, use it to bully and harass without consequence and still remain anonymous. Until this changes, I will be disabling my accounts across all social platforms. I’m hoping this happens soon.
There has been a lot of talk around whether social media platforms are doing enough to tackle the rampant racism online. Last week, Borussia Dortmund condemned racist abuse aimed at Jude Bellingham after he posted a screenshot of comments on Instagram.
“Social media platforms from our perspective clearly haven’t done enough to eradicate this problem, both from a technology perspective and from a monitoring perspective and finding out who is behind these accounts,” Jonas Baer-Hoffmann told AFP.
Bellingham’s case came after several other players called out online abuse, including Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford.
FIFPro’s recent “Shaping Our Future” reported highlighted the growing role played by footballers in the fight for social justice but pointed out the prevalence of abuse inside stadiums, at least until the coronavirus pandemic locked spectators out.
“Football overall has a significant problem with racism. At the moment we are so concentrated on social media, because it is getting worse, but also because we are not experiencing the same problems we had pre-Covid in stadiums because there are no people there,” Baer-Hoffmann added.
“Before Covid came essentially we had reports every week about horrendous attacks on players in stadiums, and that problem will come back I’m pretty sure.”
(With AFP inputs)