Rangers and Birmingham City join Swansea City in social media boycott in stand against racism

  • Video report by ITV News Sport Editor Steve Scott

Rangers and Birmingham City have announced they will follow Swansea City in a week-long boycott of social media, amid claims not enough is done on by tech firms to tackle racist abuse on their platforms.

From 5pm on Thursday, Swansea City announced the club, their players and staff would not post on social media for seven days in a bid to force Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to tackle action.

Swansea's Jamal Lowe became the third Swansea player in less than two months to be racially abused on Instagram. South Wales Police have launched investigations after Yan Dhanda was abused in February and Ben Cabango in March.

Fellow Championship club Birmingham City FC have announced a similar move, along with Scottish Premiership champions Rangers.

Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara spoke to ITV News about the alleged racist abuse he faced from Ondrej Kúdela during their Europa League clash last month.

The 25-year-old revealed he had been receiving online abuse "every day" since the clash, and detailed the toll the incident has had on him and his family.

Kamara told ITV News: "I haven't paid much attention to what he [Kudela] has done after this whole incident, but I've seen their fans, how they've reacted, and I'll get [racist] abuse probably every day on my Instagram.

"Every day, easily - I'm not the one that gets really affected by it, so I'm all right. But how the team has reacted and taken it, it's sad, to be honest.

  • Glen Kamara: Not enough is being done to protect players

"I feel like I need to tell my story - the online messages I've been getting, the racial abuse online - Instagram, Twitter, everywhere else. I feel like as the victim, it needs to be said."

In a statement, Rangers said: "Rangers can confirm that as of 7pm this evening, our players and management will take part in a week-long boycott of all social media channels.

"This is to underline the ongoing concerns over a lack of accountability and responsibility from social media outlets.

"In particular, we are concerned with the daily racist abuse our players have to endure, and believe that although social media can be a very positive and healthy platform for communication, there is undoubted concern the levels of hate are now spiralling out of control."

Birmingham City said it "stands in solidarity" with Swansea and will not publish any content across their channels for seven days.

These include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and Snapchat pages, as well the club's Community, Academy and Regional Talent Centre platforms.

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.

Swansea City announced they will not post on their social media platforms for a week due to inaction by social media firms on racism. Credit: PA

"This goes far beyond pulling together as Blues, but as football and society.

"By removing our content from these platforms, we intend to starve the perpetrators of such abusive and discriminatory behaviour of a space in which they can carry out offences that are not only criminal but deeply harmful to the wellbeing of groups and individuals.

"The time for talk is over and we strongly hope that this action will be recognised by every social media company with whom we invite open dialogue.

  • Glen Kamara: Why I'm speaking out

"Enough is enough."

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson said he was handing his social media over to an anti-cyberbullying charity, in a bid to raise awareness.

"I partnered with Cybersmile for the People Not Profiles campaign because the problem of online abuse is continuing to destroy lives every day," Henderson said.

"It has been great working with Cybersmile to address such an important issue and it is my hope that this campaign raises awareness of how seriously online abuse can affect people and also lets people know there is help and support available to them."

Facebook, which owns Instagram, said: "We don't want discriminatory abuse on Instagram or Facebook.

"We share the goal of tackling it and want to hold people who share it accountable.

  • Yan Dhanda: Not enough being done by social media

"We do this by taking action on content and accounts that break our rules and cooperating with law enforcement when we receive a valid legal request.

"We also recently announced that we'll take tougher action when we become aware of people breaking our rules in DMs and we have built tools to help protect people, including the ability to never receive a DM from someone you don't follow."