Preston North End are joining an English football-wide social media boycott to make a stand against the ongoing and sustained discriminatory abuse received online by players, staff and many others connected to football and the wider community.
As a club we are united with the rest of the football community against all forms of discrimination, this abhorrent online abuse will not be tolerated.
While we do not expect the boycott from football in isolation to eradicate this abuse, it demonstrates that football is willing to take proactive steps in this continued fight against discrimination.
The purpose of the boycott is to make it clear to social media companies that more must be done to eradicate online hate, while also highlighting the importance of educating people in the ongoing fight against discrimination in all walks of life.
Football as whole urges the UK Government to ensure its Online Safety Bill will bring in strong legislation to make social media companies more accountable for what happens on their platforms.
From 3pm on Friday 30th April until 11.59pm on Monday 3rd May, the club will fall silent across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, joining the rest of football in taking a stand. This includes the club’s main social media channels as well as those representing the PNE Community and Education Trust and PNE Academy.
All first team players and club staff will be taking part as the club looks to show a united stance against all forms of discrimination.
Speaking of the importance of making a stand, club captain Alan Browne said: “I think it’s a really good idea, you have got people who are hiding behind a screen giving abuse, giving racial abuse, and it’s embarrassing that it has to get to this stage. There has to be some sort of authentication behind your account, you shouldn’t be able to just make an account just to dish out abuse.
“I don’t mind taking abuse after games, I think fans get riled up a bit but to go to the extent that some people do is disgraceful really and they should be punished for it. I don’t think they can continue to get away with it so I think this campaign against it is a really good one.
“As players we know it’s part of the game for people to have opinions but to abuse someone in the manner that some people do is a criminal act for me and they should be punished for it.
“If things don’t’ change I can see more people coming off social media, it’s not just footballers, it’s people in general, in every day life.
“You’ve got people that hide behind the screen and behind fake accounts that can just say and do whatever they like and not face any consequences for it so something has to change. I’m sure it will eventually and I know it’s not easy for the likes of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to change it straight away but surely there is something they can do.”
We are pleased to confirm a number of our local media partners will also be joining the boycott, including the football based social media channels for the Lancashire Post and Lancs Live, including their reporters, and some of the club’s supporter groups will also fall silent on social media, including PNE-Online and From The Finney.
We would encourage our supporters to take part in the boycott and help to make as big an impact as possible as football comes together to make a change.
Please note that while the club’s social media channels will be silent for the weekend, the club website and iFollow PNE will continue to be updated, with pre-match build up, team news and live match updates in the match centre on PNE.Com. The game will still also be available to watch live on iFollow PNE.
We would like to remind supporters that if you come across any racist or discriminatory comments, these must be reported directly to the police.
Reports of discriminatory language or abuse can be reported online here or by calling 101.