Racist abuse, sexist abuse and 6am trolls - why Bristol Bears' Simi Pam is taking part in social media boycott

  • Simi Pam speak to ITV News West Country about online abuse

Sports teams, athletes and even members of the royal family will boycott social media websites this weekend over a lack of action on online abuse.

The boycott is running across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter throughout the bank holiday weekend.

Speaking to ITV News West Country, Bristol Bears player Simi Pam said she hopes the boycott will force social media platforms to do more to prevent online abuse.

Simi Pam has spoken out about the abuse she's received. Credit: Bristol Sport

She said: "I've had some nasty things. I've had sexist things, misogynistic things, I get racial abuse quite a lot as well.

"The most recent message I got was sent to me at 6am by someone who has never communicated with me before, they just sent me a DM with a racial statement.

"It hurts sometimes, because no matter what you do to that person all they'll ever see is that I'm a black person and for whatever reason that upsets them, offends them.

"I probably am powerless to do anything to change that, which is a shame, because obviously I am a lot more than my race - but we need to get social media to a point where people can't just say nasty, racist things and get away with it."

The aim of the boycott is to put more pressure on the owners of popular digital platforms to work harder to eradicate online hate.

Simi says measures should be brought in to stop people setting up anonymous accounts which they then use to troll others.

She said: "It's an issue that I think we've let slide for too long.

"The fact people can anonymously write whatever they want about you, through fake profiles, and just attack you without any consequence or repercussion is not ok.

"You wouldn't be able to do it in the street. The kind of stuff that I get sent... if someone said that to me out in the street, you'd be able to call the police and report it and action would be taken."

Facebook, which owns Instagram, says it will remove accounts of people who send abusive messages and Twitter says it's "committed" to working with sports clubs and Governing bodies to tackle the issue.

  • The boycott started at 3pm on Friday 30 April and will finish at 11.59pm on Monday 3 May.

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