Social media boycott: Companies must cover cost of ending online abuse

1 May 2021, 11:41

By Seán Hickey

The head of Kick It Out has called on social media giants to fund a massive overhaul of how they monitor and punish abuse of their platforms.

Sanjay Bhandari is the Chair of Kick It Out, who expressed their support for the Premier League's social media boycott this weekend. He spoke to Andrew Castle as British football demand action from tech giants on endemic abuse on their platforms, which largely goes unpunished.

Mr Bhandari explained that Kick It Out is calling for "robust and reliable procedures" against online hate and for companies to share the details of their "effective internal sanctions framework" for combatting online hate.

He called on the companies to disclose the actions they're taking to "tackle discriminatory abuse" amid the mass boycott of their platforms this weekend.

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Andrew nudged the Kick It Out boss, asking what these companies can do beyond greater transparency.

"They're making billions out of us all" he argued, hinting that financial support for the anti-abuse cause would go further than transparency.

Read More: Ex-Premier League footballer tells LBC why he's backing football's social media boycott

"How do you get them to comply if they don't want to?" He wondered. Mr Bhandari insisted that state intervention is the answer.

British football clubs have begun a social media boycott to fight online abuse
British football clubs have begun a social media boycott to fight online abuse. Picture: PA

"The other part of the action we want is from Government," he revealed, adding that support from Westminster would accelerate the action and ensure a better outcome.

He imagined that "Ofcom are going to be regulating the social media companies" if demands of the boycott are met.

Ultimately, the head of the anti-racism NGO concluded that the whole exercise "should be funded by social media" as a way of showing the companies to act against an issue they have been unintentionally facilitating.