Starting on Friday, April 30th at 3PM BST and running through midnight on Monday, May 3rd, the social media accounts surrounding English football—including those of the players, clubs, leagues, federations, and countless other—will go dark in an effort to encourage the various social platforms to take online abuse more seriously.
In support of those efforts, which were spearheaded by the players in response to the abuse and discriminatory language they commonly face on social media and that is allowed to go largely unchecked by the platforms, the social feeds of SB Nation’s sites covering Premier League sides will also being going dark, including those of The Liverpool Offside.
The FA, Premier League, EFL, FA Women’s Super League, FA Women’s Championship, PFA, LMA, PGMOL, Kick It Out, Women In Football and the FSA will unite for a social media boycott from the afternoon of Friday 30th April until the night of Monday 3rd May in response to the ongoing and sustained discriminatory abuse received online by players and many others connected to football.
This has been scheduled to take place across a full fixture schedule in the men’s and women’s professional game and will see clubs across the Premier League, EFL, WSL and Women’s Championship switch off their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
In solidarity with the cause, the following SB Nation Soccer Premier League blogs will also be honouring a similar period of silence on their social media accounts –
Arsenal – The Short Fuse
Aston Villa – 7500 to Holte
Everton – Royal Blue Mersey
Leicester City – Fosse Posse
Liverpool – The Liverpool Offside
Manchester United – The Busby Babe
Newcastle – Coming Home Newcastle
Tottenham – Cartilage Free Captain
This boycott alone will not stop the stream of hateful commentary that pervades through social media nowadays, but is more of a call to action for all of us as football fans to stand together and stamp this out of the game. We encourage each one of you to take a minute to think about what you, personally, can do to make the game we all love a kinder, more inclusive space and to help drive racism and abuse off social media.
We thank you for your support.
Individually, we at The Liverpool Offside understand we likely lack the ability to influence in any meaningful way the behaviour of the social networks when it comes to their handling of online abuse and discriminatory language in the way players and clubs with their hundreds of millions of collective followers might.
As such, we understand our actions here can be little more than symbolic. However, those actions do bring with them the opportunity to reflect and recommit ourselves—as writers and caretakers of an internet community—to the standards we hold ourselves and our community to, both our immediate Liverpool Offside community and the larger Liverpool fan community.
In that spirit, while our social feeds will go dark in the coming days, longer term our focus will remain on seeking to call out toxic behaviour within our own community when we see it, and to reaffirm that anyone whose fandom involves trading in racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, or otherwise abusive or bigoted commentary isn’t welcome on The Liverpool Offside and that we’d rather risk losing such readers than allow space for them in our community.