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Social Media Black Out

I'm 100% behind the stance of the clubs and players in shutting down their 'socials' for this weekend but let's be honest it won't do anything.

I'm not the right demographic for socials but do dip into Twitter and Instagram and every day see stuff that shocks me and has become normalised, and even more so in the past 12 months. A random one yesterday. Matt Hancock get's his jab from JVT. The comments start off with a little bit of ahem gentle abuse and by about the 2nd scroll a woman was wishing him a painful death. This woman when I clicked on her profile was a mum of two who's previous tweets including more homely things. I guess what my point is that the people behind a lot of this vile stuff that appears on socials (I do hate that every time I type it) are not shaven headed racists, they are not extreme political activists, they are quite often angry people who now have something in their hand to express their rage and do so in the most terrible of ways. Wishing death, rape, pain etc on total strangers. And it is not a small number of people, and it is no a single demographic.

I wish I had an answer but whilst the social media companies have a platform that supports 'free speech' with impunity you will not change it. They have skin in the game as they say.

I will sign of this witter with a little story from a couple of decades ago. My friends and I were stood along the side terrace (pre-Frank Adams Stand, what was it called?) watching a pretty dire Smith era game. It was crowded surprisingly but those were days. The team was playing Smith era football, it was not a good time kids. A guy I did not know joined us and shared our frustration at the showing. He looked normal if there is such a thing. After a while he turned round and said 'you know what's wrong with this team?' we go, the answer, it's the formation, its the lack of unity in the squad, its the hangover from the O'Neil era, its the signing of big money players who are under performing, its ...'too many black players'. To say I was shocked is an understatement but I was delighted when my friends and I and a circle around us who had also heard this turned on him and told him in no uncertain terms he was not welcome on the terrace or at the club. He sulked off. And even though I would struggle to recognise him I don't recall seeing him again. I don't think any of us 'cured' a racist but maybe we did make him feel that this was not a petri dish he was going to thrive in. Maybe self-policing is an idea for the virtual world too.

*was certainly not those exact words.



  • I think the blackout is aimed at trying to force the SM companies themselves to act faster and more forcefully against those posting abuse than attempting to change those people, many of whom are well beyond hope but can hopefully have their platform taken away from them.

  • It's a (probably doomed) tactic to make the companies themselves sit up. I support it all the way though I too am not a Twitter or Instagram user. The only way to poke these lazy bloated, enormously wealthy behemoths into action is financially or via bad publicity as we saw recently. Of course, as politicians use multiple accounts to mess with our minds come election time, the idea they will at any point force companies to have a proper registration process for user accounts is laughable.

  • In monetary terms this blackout will not harm the social media companies a jot. Footballers, actors, politicians etc use these platforms for both commercial and non-commercial communications and some will profit directly or indirectly as a result. So the shockingly abused won’t nor should they come away from these platforms - which would harm the companies.
    Maybe I’m just at an age where I just don’t get ‘it’.

  • @TheAndyGrahamFanClub from memory it was the Woodland Terrace. And my usual place to be found pre-Frank Adams stand.

    As an aside, I think you are the first person I’ve ever seen use the term “socials” for social media. But you are right. It’s a horrible term

  • What is this thread about?

  • Why do footballers, or anyone in the public eye feel that it is imperative to use social media? I did read that their commercial partners insist on it but in view of all the hassle, it causes why not opt-out and not just for a few days.

  • It was supposed to be a fun and immediate way to interact with fans...unfortunately it is also a fun and immediate way for racists to be racists.

  • I don’t venture into football Twitter very often because it’s an absolute cesspit. Most player accounts are bland because they’re not actually allowed to express themselves, but the ones that do are often not particularly insightful anyway. Most fan accounts are much, much worse - endless misogyny, thickery and racism under the guise of “banter”. I despair at the state of humanity.

  • If you look at humanity as a necessary solution to evolution @drcongo its all fine

  • Golden rule of Twitter. Unfollow anyone who retweets banter from Paddy Power.

  • @arnos_grove said:
    Golden rule of Twitter. Unfollow anyone who retweets banter from Paddy Power.

    I hate the term banter. It’s usually just an excuse for sh1t behaviour

  • Exactly why I put quotes around it earlier @TheAndyGrahamFanClub - one of the very worst words in the English language. Along with "bants".

  • Bants is really pants.

  • Even worse, ‘Bantz’.

  • @Wendoverman said:
    It was supposed to be a fun and immediate way to interact with fans...unfortunately it is also a fun and immediate way for racists to be racists.

    Three thumbs down for quite an innocuous post?. I can only apologise for any offence caused.

  • I actually gave it a thumbs up, but there’s obviously a lot of racists on the gasroom.

  • It's very difficult for individuals or sporting organisations to stop or effectively police racist abuse with the pitiful assistance provided by the tech companies, but it's not impossible in many cases and any idea you shouldn't try is a bit weird tbh.
    The simplistic nature of twitter is a little different from Facebook but both companies have had very clear sight of how their platforms can be abused and have done little about it.

  • Chelsea have now appointed a 'team' to root out abuse that is attached to their social media platforms. As was pointed out it is 'often' people or organisations that use social media to pedal their flavour of hate and simply attach it to a high profile person or organisation to get visibility. I guess if a knuckle dragger tweets hate to their 5 followers it would get zero visibility, if they attach that comment to Chelsea's match update they get thousands of views. Just wonder how difficult it is for these clever boffins to block certain key words that appear in these hateful streams? Not very I guess.

    Just after the Oxford game I received some hate from an Oxford fan. Which was bizarre as I am not really your typical target and could not give a sh1t quite frankly (I was full of love and joy for many many days let's face it). I called the guy out on it. In an odd twist to this particular story the muppet created 2 twitter accounts to make it look like he was a Wycombe fan and then sent himself hate, but it was racial hate. Even odder as he seemed to be white. He was not clever at all as I could see in the new twitter account that he had started them (I'm no computer genius, but it was clear). So I reported him and his 2 other accounts to Twitter. Two months later I got an email from twitter saying they agreed with me and these accounts were now blocked. Two months to remove accounts that had the vilest of racial slurs. Yeah, they are committed.

  • Interesting. Twitter has about 190 million users doesn't it, so probably quite a slow process to investigate and ban.

  • @peterparrotface said:
    Interesting. Twitter has about 190 million users doesn't it, so probably quite a slow process to investigate and ban.

    190 million users. I wonder how many are bots? Half?

  • @peterparrotface said:
    Interesting. Twitter has about 190 million users doesn't it, so probably quite a slow process to investigate and ban.

    Probably, but then they aren't all being racist, and It also has almost unlimited money and the tech to take down links to copyrighted material, or provide you with targeted ads almost instantly.

  • I am no techno buff...but I would have thought with all the gear they have and the massed nerdlings employed...if someone highlights racist material surely it can only take a few seconds to double check and sort out. I would imagine as long as you don't delete the multiple secret accounts of the FSB, CIA, FBI, MI5, MI6, and all major political parties and lobbyists worldwide, it should be a simple process to block racists.

  • If you set your location to Germany on Twitter and go through a VPN with a German endpoint, there are zero nazis on Twitter because it's illegal there. So yeah, it's perfectly possible.

  • With tech or resource issues like this one if something can be done but takes too long it's usually because it's not a high enough priority or there isn't enough money , it certainly isn't the latter.

  • You can’t tell me that YouTube can block a video where in the background Adele is playing but Twitter can’t flag something where an account makes rape threats against a female journalist for criticising a team.

  • No, it definitely is possible, it's just hard. The YouTube thing is much easier, because all you have to do is compare audio frequency graphs. Detecting something in text is a lot harder because you also need to do sentiment analysis which is pretty unreliable - this is to detect, say, the difference between someone making a threat and someone stating that they feel threatened. Silencing the latter through automation would be a pretty horrible outcome. Twitter already has death threat detection, but over on Parler you can find people discussing how to defeat it. If you just go for basic word detection without any sentiment analysis then you'll definitely end up silencing people's pleas for help as well as the scummy comments, and also end up with the Scunthorpe Problem.

  • It’s misuse> @drcongo said:

    I actually gave it a thumbs up, but there’s obviously a lot of racists on the gasroom.


  • Well, four more than there are anti-racists.

  • I assume as Facebook endlessly offers me pages on Music, Football and historic Film posters...right-wingers get a lot of Nazi Conspiracy Theories, Britain First and Morrissey suggestions?

  • And Lawrence Fox campaign ads.

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