Players boycotting social media over racism receive abuse

Manchester City's Raheem Sterling runs with the ball during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at Etihad stadium in Manchester, England, Saturday, April 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

Footballers in England boycotting social media in a protest against racism were targeted with abuse about the 24-hour campaign

MANCHESTER, England — Some soccer players in England boycotting social media in a protest against racism were targeted with abuse for posting about the 24-hour campaign.

Talks with the social media companies are now being urgently sought by the Professional Footballers' Association, which coordinated the "Enough" campaign to demand a crackdown on racism by the platforms.

There was silence on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram from many players from 0800 GMT Friday for 24 hours.

"Yesterday, some members received racist abuse on their #Enough posts. When these incidents were reported, the response from social networks was — again — unacceptable," the PFA said in a statement. "In the coming days, we will be inviting players to report any racist abuse they have received to us. We will collate it and share it with social platforms to demonstrate the impact of their lack of action."

"We will be requesting meetings with each of the social platforms as a matter of priority," the PFA said. "Meetings with the Football Association and government are planned for next month. This is a first step in a larger player-led campaign to tackle racism and demand meaningful change."

The boycott was advocated by Tottenham defender Danny Rose, who was targeted with monkey noises while playing for England in Montenegro last month, and Manchester United defender Chris Smalling, who called for more stringent regulation of posts on social media.

Social media companies did not appear to respond on their networks to the players' concerns despite widespread coverage and support from FIFA for the boycott.

Twitter did not respond to an email from The Associated Press requesting comment and Facebook, which also owns Instagram, provided a statement that did not directly address the players' concerns.

"We will remove hate speech or credible threats of any kind, and we encourage anyone who sees content they find offensive to report it so we can remove anything that breaks our community standards," Facebook said by email. "We have developed a range of tools that allow users to moderate and filter the content that people put on their pages including; hiding or deleting comments, blocking certain words, turning on a profanity filter, and banning people."

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