Gambling Companies Join in Social Media Blackout

If you’re looking out on social media for news of MansionBet and Smartest, then it’s all gone a bit quiet. The companies have shown their support for the social media blackout that is taking place until 11.59am on Monday 3 May.

It’s all part of a campaign calling for action against online abuse. People can just create a Twitter account for example and tweet abuse. Accounts may be suspended but the damage has been done by then. A lot of it is racial abuse but the identities of those sending it is difficult If not impossible to discover.

The social media blackout began at 3pm on Friday 30 April at the start of another busy sporting weekend. You’d normally be seeing tweets and Facebook posts galore discussing the matches taking place over the weekend. UEFA, the FA and the Premier League are all taking part in the campaign.

Most of the posts/tweets are of course reasonably innocent, there are many others that aren’t. Racial abuse has been aimed at present and past players and they believe it’s time that tougher action was taken.

MansionBet would usually be tweeting details of their latest promotions but not this weekend. The gambling company support Bristol City, Newcastle United and Millwall and felt it right to support their partners. Smarkets also have sporting connections and used to be shirt sponsors of QPR.

MansionBet tweeted that they would be part of the “planned social media boycott this weekend in a show of solidarity against racism and online abuse.”

Smarkets made a similar tweet and said their media accounts will not be active again until 3pm on Tuesday 4 May. Their statement said that “Racism and online abuse have no place in our society.” They added that this is a crucial issue “that requires real engagement from social media companies.” The company believe that those companies “must do more to tackle the unacceptable abuse on their platforms.”

The campaigners are calling for filtering, blocking and quick removal of offensive posts. The latter is important as sometimes abusive comments can still be online for some time. How often do you hear of social media comments being discovered years after they were made?

A better verification and registration process is also being called for. Social media companies offering more “active assistance” to the police and other authorities is also seen as a move forward.

Also supporting the social media blackout are Flutter who are the holding company for sites such as Paddy Power, SkyBet and Betfair. They announced on Friday (30 April) that they would be “supporting English football in the boycott of social networks.”

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) are doing the same, even though it’s Guineas weekend at Newmarket. Their view that there is “hatred spreading across the networks” and “change is necessary.”