By David Williams
Swansea City have created some initial momentum in their campaign to boycott social media with both Birmingham City and Rangers joining their protest.
Scottish champions Rangers have announced that all players and management will not post content on any platform for the duration of a week, following a similar step taken by Birmingham after the Swans’ lead.
Premier League and EFL clubs are reportedly now set for a summit to discuss a complete social media blackout.
The idea of all teams from the top flight, Championship plus Leagues One and Two holding a one day boycott is understood to have been tentatively mooted.
The latest incident occurred after the Swans’ defeat at Birmingham on Friday night, when Jamal Lowe was racially abused on Instagram the following day.
The forward reposted the offensive message on a subsequent Instagram story, writing “some serious idiots out there” alongside it.
Although the account which posted the message was removed, it is the third incident where a Swansea player has been subjected to racist abuse on social media since February.
Yan Dhanda was abused after the FA Cup loss to Manchester City and Ben Cabango was targeted while on international duty with Wales.
A Birmingham statement read: “The club stands in solidarity with Swansea City Football Club who first announced their intention to operate a social media blackout earlier today, with this fight going beyond sporting rivalries and one that must be tackled in unison.
“Regardless of who such abhorrent abuse on social media is directed towards, Blues do not believe this should determine who speaks out against it and that making this stance together is paramount to ridding the game and society of this evil.”
Rangers managing director, Stewart Robertson, told the club’s official website: “We can confirm that as a board and as a club, we are fully behind our players and management on this issue.
“Furthermore, we have arranged to meet Facebook and Instagram to underline our growing concerns.
“Having spoken to a wide range of clubs across the United Kingdom, we know these concerns are shared by all clubs and it is fair to say everyone is losing patience with the lack of action from social media companies.”
Although Swansea had previously urged social media companies to do more to prevent online abuse, they are now taking it one step further with a collective social media blackout.
The Club stands in solidarity with Swansea City in the fight against abuse and discrimination of all forms across social media.
As of 6pm tonight, we will not be posting across official channels for a period of seven days. #EnoughIsEnough
— Birmingham City FC (@BCFC) April 8, 2021
A Swansea statement read: “From 5pm today all first-team players, those in the academy professional phase (under-23s and under-18s), Swansea City Ladies, Community Trust, senior club staff and official club channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, YouTube and TikTok) will not post any content for a period of seven days.
“As a football club, we have seen several of our players subjected to abhorrent abuse in the past seven weeks alone, and we feel it is right to take a stand against behaviour that is a blight on our sport, and society at large.
“We will always be unwavering in our support of our players, staff, supporters and the community that we proudly represent, and we are united as a club on this issue.
“We also want to stand with players from other clubs who have had to endure vile discrimination on social media platforms.
“As a club we are also acutely aware of how social media can impact on the mental health of players and staff, and we hope our strong stance will highlight the wider effects of abuse.”
The statement went on to say chief executive Julian Winter had sent a letter to Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, and Facebook’s founder, chairman and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, to reiterate the club’s stance and desire to see social media companies introduce more stringent policing and punishments.