Why Player4Player Is Joining The Social Media Boycott
It seems as if a day doesn’t go by without a story in the media of a player receiving vile abuse, hate or threats online. This situation is completely unacceptable and cannot be allowed to continue.
Player4Player will participate in the 4-day social media boycott from the 30th April alongside many others in football. We are going to utilise this time to really reflect on the role social media plays in football and our own communications.
Players And Fans
Football has grown so much in recent decades that the distance between players and fans has inevitably widened with neither responsible for this change. We know as former players that we enjoyed speaking with fans. We were grateful for their incredible support and the amazing atmospheres they created for us to play in. It was what we had dreamed about since we were kids.
The introduction of social media has been a great tool for local and international fans to interact and hear directly from players without the dilution or influence of the press or their club. They have used their platforms to give fans an insight into their lives, share celebratory moments and highlight social issues that are close to their heart.
Unfortunately, a very small minority use this direct connection to send players sickening abuse, hate and threats.
Players can have the illusionary image of superstars who are invincible, but they are normal people who just happen to possess an incredible talent. Being skilful with a ball does not impact their capacity to feel emotions, and they can be hurt by these messages just like any other human being would be.
Creating A Positive Environment For All
We don’t expect everything on social media to be positive and players have to learn how to cope with criticism whether justified or not. However, there is a line where it is no longer appropriate and abuse, hate or threatening comments are unacceptable under any circumstance.
We wouldn’t allow it to take place in the physical world so, equally, there is no justifiable reason to permit it in the digital sphere.
At the moment, there is clearly not enough being done to prevent and discourage this behaviour. And when it does take place, platforms, government and football’s stakeholders must work together more closely to identify those committing these actions and bring them to justice.
The social media platforms must work to find a solution because the status quo cannot continue. The fact that there is not always a zero tolerance to banning those that send these vile messages clearly shows they are not taking it seriously, and it is not considered a priority.
We all must genuinely commit to making social media a safe place for everyone to connect and interact, backed by the actions that demonstrate this commitment.
We encourage all players, past and present, to act in solidarity and join this boycott.
Players are immensely powerful when they come together and support one another as we have seen in the past. This is the idea that underpins Player4Player.
Whilst we wait for the social media platforms to change, considering players are keen not to abandon the direct connection it offers with their fans, we have provided the following quick tips they can follow to help prevent abuse.
1. Don’t share abuse or reply to it as this encourages others who want attention.
2. If you feel you have to highlight a negative message, always use a screenshot with the username not visible or blacked out, so they don’t get the attention they are looking for. Remember that these messages will be seen by all your followers including children.
3. Sharing positive messages that you receive encourages others to post more of these.
4. Block abusive accounts immediately as this denies them access to gaining an audience by interacting on your posts.
5. Report any abusive or threatening messages.
6. As a last resort, disable comments and direct messaging (this will also end positive interaction with all fans).