Eleven F1 drivers join social media boycott against racism

2021 Portuguese Grand Prix

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Formula 1 drivers including Lando Norris, George Russell, Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo have joined a social media boycott against racism.

Charles Leclerc, Esteban Ocon, Valtteri Bottas, Nicholas Latifi, Mick Schumacher have also thrown their support behind the campaign, and will refrain from posting social media updates for more than 72 hours.

The drive was initiated by English football bodies the Football Association, Premier League, English Football League, FA Women’s Super League, FA Women’s Championship, the Professional Footballers’ Association, the League Managers’ Association, referee association Professional Game Match Officials Limited, anti-racism campaign Kick It Out, Women in Football and the Football Supporters Association.

The goal of the boycott is to hold social media companies accountable for what is posted on their platforms “in response to the ongoing and sustained discriminatory abuse received online by players and many others connected to football.”

This weekend, when the boycott will run from 15:00 BST today until 23:59 on Monday 3rd May, was selected as particularly impactful as it contains a full schedule of football matches. As the Portuguese Grand Prix also falls over that time, several F1 drivers have also committed to support the initiative with their own social media boycotts.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Autodromo do Algarve, 2021
‘Social media platforms need to do more’ – Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton said yesterday that he was considering his position on the boycott. “In the sport, it’s clear that racism continues to be an issue,” he said. “And I think social media platforms do need to do more in order to combat this.

“And so I’m fully supportive of the initiative. If me also doing it helps put pressure on on those platforms in order to help fight against it then for sure, I’m happy to do so.”

Hamilton has 22 million followers on Instagram and 6.3 million on Twitter; this morning, he posted a message confirming he would join the boycott. “To stand in solidarity with the football community, I will be going dark on my social media channels this weekend. There is no place in our society for any kind of abuse, online or not, and for too long it’s been easy for a small few to post hate from behind their screens.

“While a boycott might not solve this issue overnight, we have to call for change when needed, even when it seems like an almost impossible task.

“Sport has the power to unite us. Let’s not accept abuse as part of sport but instead, let’s be the ones who make a difference for future generations.”

Daniel Ricciardo also said he was supportive of the boycott, though he had not yet committed to it. “[I’m] certainly considering it and obviously if it helps, like all things, raise awareness and spread the message or put it out there and hold some to a bit more accountability, for sure. I think that’s important.”

He updated social media just before second practice, when the blackout was due to come into place, saying “I’ll be going offline for the next few days to stand with others against online abuse. Any form of abuse is not ok and those that share or allow hate should be held accountable. I want to encourage a positive change in behaviour and urge people to think before they act.

“If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it at all. #EnoughIsEnough.”

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Lando Norris and George Russell confirmed this morning they will take part in the boycott. “I’m supporting the boycott of social media this weekend,” said Norris, one of F1’s most prolific and widely-followed drivers on social media, on one of his accounts.

George Russell, Williams, Autodromo do Algarve, 2021
“There is far too much online abuse” – Russell
“Everyone struggles with abuse on here at some point and social media companies need to do more to tackle it. Hiding behind a keyboard is not okay. Enough is enough.”

Russell announced he will participate in the boycott in a short video message to fans posted to his social channels. “I will be supporting the social media blackout this weekend,” said Russell. “I thought it was important to do so because there is far too much online abuse, hatred, negativity, racism that is just undeserved.

“I feel like it’s our duty to raise as much awareness as possible, not just within sport, but within all walks of life. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are or what background you’re from, just to to spread positivity and be nice to one another.

“I feel strongly about this, and I felt like it was my duty to to be a part of this cause. So I hope you appreciate my views, my opinion, and hopefully we can all make a change.”

Max Verstappen did not get asked about the boycott yesterday but today posted a social media message just before second practice, saying “Along with my fellow F1 drivers I support the #EnoughIsEnough campaign this weekend. We support the call for social media platforms to act responsibly and users to act respectfully. Online abuse and hate must stop.”

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[/CBC][CBC show="y" country="uk"][/CBC]Formula 1 has acknowledged the boycott taking place and reiterated its support for challenging racism but did not commit to joining the action. “F1 is wholly committed to combatting any form of discrimination, online or otherwise,” it stated.

“We support the actions of the Premier League and other sporting bodies and athletes in highlighting that more must be done to eradicate online abuse that they are receiving directly.

“We continue to work with all platforms and our own audiences to promote respect and positive values and put a stop to racism.”

Update: RaceFans will support the ‘#Enough’ campaign against racism on social media

This article will be updated

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2021 Portuguese Grand Prix

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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124 comments on “Eleven F1 drivers join social media boycott against racism”

  1. Lando’s got my strong support.

    1. For sure these drivers will stand up and not race in Jeddah ?

      1. I for one would be VERY proud of them if they did boycott the Saudi GP.

  2. Not posting on social media for a few days.

    That’ll teach ’em

    1. Haha, made me laugh as well. Wish they would do a boycot whole year round. I have no interest whatsoever in the social messages of any F1 driver. And for the critics; yes I support their cause. Its just that Lewis has been so clumsy (or ‘less than optimal in hunting after results’ if you wish) since he embarked on this mission. Why doesnt he hire outside counsel in order to get his message across in an effective way?

      1. That’s not really the point of this. The F1 drivers are joining in in solidarity with English football, who are withdrawing their – very high engagement-drawing – content from social media platforms who profit from it. It’s over a full programme match weekend, meaning you’d expect them to be posting a lot, so that it has the greatest effect.

        It will also have an effect on clubs and leagues; social media is an important driver for sponsorship, especially with big engagement numbers. What they’re asking for is that the platforms who are profiting from this moderate responses and take serious steps to stop, specifically, racist abuse against clubs and players.

        It’s specific action, asking for a specific response, where accounts are withdrawing the financial gain made by platforms through abuse directed at them. The F1 drivers are acting in solidarity, not as a separate protest.

        1. Deleting comments and opinions is censorship

          1. private entities can do as they wish. market capitalism 101

          2. No, it is moderation, in line with the comments policy.

            I have left up plenty of comments that are critical of me, the ones I removed have either dismissed racism as fake or victimhood – an unacceptably ignorant stance in 2021 – or have included words that contravene the comments policy (you’re not allowed to use racial slurs) or they have been specifically racist.

          3. Except for disrespectful comments such as the ones in the Petrov’s father’s death thread.

        2. Yet they don’t care enough to actually leave and use their INCREDIBLE profits to hire a development team of their own?? Oh, that’s because they want the traffic and ad revenues for themselves as well and want to do the LEAST work possible to pretend to be doing something. It’s EXACTLY the same as the “don’t buy gas on Tuesday and we’ll show them.” You’re literally doing nothing and not stopping revenues because clicks will still occur from older information and search clicks before to check social media posts to tell everyone how they aren’t doing social media

        3. ” the ones I removed have either dismissed racism as fake or victimhood – an unacceptably ignorant stance in 2021″

          I see you have a proper intolerant young culture. You may want to apply for Revolutionary Guard maybe if you play well the intolerance game against your fellow “compagnons de route” you can even go to be a Dictator.
          Your tolerance of others appears only skin color deep. Or maybe not even that after people of all colors have diverse opinions.

          1. Alex, I’m 34.

          2. Well said alexS.
            Hazel should stick to writing formulaE drivel nobody clicks.

          3. Cheer up, you’re still very young at 34!

    2. @napierrailton Not giving the social media accounts personal information by not logging in may well teach ’em. That is, after all, how they made the bulk of their money (or, at least, offset the majority of the losses they manage to offset). That, and income from sponsored tweets (which will also be reduced thanks to there being fewer logged-in people looking at the tweets).

      So yes, there’s a direct economic impact to the social networks as well as the indirect impact of “fewer posts to attract other users”.

  3. Lewis is way way behind the curve here! They’re all ahead of the game Lewis, wake up man, what a snoozer.
    We should all think about making this blackout permanent…

  4. Lando Norris, George Russell and Lewis Hamilton have joined a social media boycott against racism, while Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo say they are considering it.

    Hamilton has both joined and is considering it?

    1. That’s so people can complain about him taking part, whilst castigating him for not committing to it.

    2. That’s on me; LH hadn’t confirmed at the time of posting and in my haste to update I failed at using sentences.

  5. It would be a virtuous statement if they boycotted the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

    1. Hear hear. And the Turkish one..

    2. now that’s a campaign I would support. Turkey as well, probably

  6. Kill me.

    1. @spafrancorchamps Oh come on, it’s not that bad. I’m sure you can survive 3 days without social media.

  7. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    30th April 2021, 10:56

    Watch everyone who doesn’t partake being called the biggest racist in the world yet again. Just like with the ‘blackout tuesday’ (or wednesday, or thursday, some day of the week), taking a knee V1, taking a knee V2 etc.

    I read yesterday that Justin Bieber is getting accused of being a racist because he has dreadlocks as a haircut now, which is apparently ‘cultural appropriation’, which apparently is also the worst thing a human being can do.

    So far 2021 has produced a lot of comedy gold, albeit rather sad, seeing that it’s all unironic.

    1. @barryfromdownunder Wearing dreadlocks as a white person *is* cultural appropriation. It’s also massively unhygienic as white hair is not the right texture to mesh properly into ‘locs and often goes mouldy. Grim.

      People with afro hair textures are discriminated against for wearing afro hairstyles such as dreadlocks, braids or allowing their hair to grow naturally rather than forcing it to be straightened or wearing wigs. Children are sent home from school for wearing these styles, even though they’re formal and smart ways for dressing afro hair.

      Until black people are free to wear their own, hair-texture-appropriate hairstyles in peace (Lewis Hamilton is, of course, a great example of someone not being allowed to do this) then white people cannot legitimately use those styles for fashion.

      1. Jezus Christ, brainwashed much?

        1. @montalvo Careful, using the “JC” expression will soon be considered ancient middle eastern appropriation

      2. You are aware that you are applying different standards to people based on their race? You can’t say you are against racism, yet condoning it when it is targeted to white people. That’s racist by itself..

        1. Quite the opposite. If you read Hazel’s last paragraph, she says that if black people cannot wear their own hairstyles then white people shouldn’t either. Am I missing something? Anyhow, FP1 has just started!

      3. A very quick Google search reveals dreadlocks have been used by ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Minoans 1500 years before Christ. Please stay within your expertise next time, which is what again? Emotional electric racing? Lol.

        1. I have some radical news for you about what colour people’s skin was in Ancient Egypt. Indeed, what colour Jesus’ was.

          1. So your argument against dreadlock usage in European cultural history over a period of severial millenia is that you don’t consider Jesus white? I guess I was right not expecting too much from a “journalist” (activist).

          2. Again, some news about where Egypt and Palestine are.

          3. Not sub-saharan African… As the racist article you linked suggests people who wear it should come from. A race-obsessed skull-gauger is rarely culturally educated enough to know the difference.
            I reckon you will delete more comments until only your snarky remarks stay standing.

          4. Hazel, I am incredibly impressed by your well-versed discussion with so many of the uneducated clowns that spend more times on these forums than they do educating themselves about where the world is today and where it used to be. Kudos to you.

            These are some of the same people who make ridiculous comments and can’t understand why “just a word” offends anyone or that believes systematic racism is a conceptual theory and not realistic.

            You’ll never change their thinking but I appreciate seeing you attempt it in such diplomatic fashion. It’s tiring, right?

          5. Are you congratulating yourself, Hazel?

          6. Nah – lots of us are impressed with her ability to remain calm and attempt to correct the ridiculous things some people post on here. I wouldn’t personally bother as it’s a losing battle but fair play to her for trying.

      4. IMO not your best post @hazelsouthwell.
        Many will see this as PC gone mad. And a post like this and possible discussions about the ‘truth’ will only take the focus away from the fight against racism (individual and institutional).

        1. @coldfly You’re right, if white people aren’t allowed to have crusty dreadlocks it’s a police state.

          1. I can only repeat what I said above:

            a post like this and possible discussions about the ‘truth’ will only take the focus away from the fight against racism

            PS will not reply until Tuesday.

      5. Wow, just wow

      6. I’m sorry. But I had to report your comment for this.

      7. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
        30th April 2021, 12:09

        >until they are allowed to wear it in peace, others are ‘legitimately’ not allowed to use it either.

        Where did you buy your diploma? As obviously you have no idea what words mean. Just because you think someting doesn’t make it the truth that everyone has to follow.

        Not to mention that unless you have a timemachine, there’s no way of telling whether black Africans were actually the ‘inventors’ of hearsyles such as dreadlocks. Vikings had them and so did Egyptians (and no, before you start to vent there, those weren’t black). Really shows you have no true understanding of the situation, nor of what you’re talking about. Which isn’t a first but for the sake of this website, I do hope it’s the last.

        1. I’m very surprised there are so many people on this website who are such huge Justin Bieber fans they would like to link his Viking heritage to his right to wear a grungy hair style.

          Here is a piece about why, although cultural appropriation isn’t necessarily racist, it happens within a world where racial prejudices exist. So it’s cooler for us all to work not to do things that further it.

      8. Really disappointing to read someone I respected on here saying you should only be allowed certain haircuts based on the colour of your skin and then to say white people with dreadlocks are unhygienic. As long as opinions like that are posted we’ll never be truly free of racism. It’s only when we all treat each other as equals and share cultures we’ll be equal.

      9. What happened to “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”?

        I would think people are happy that others spread the beauty of dreadlocks and make it more universally accepted, but no they would rather pretend to be victims who have been horribly wronged.

      10. Grow up and go out hazel, your thoughts here are a disgrace for this web site.

      11. I’m not sure what to make of this thread. I don’t consider dreads cultural appropriation, I normally agree with Hazel on political points but not on this. Wearing dreads is different than wearing a native american headress, for many, dreads is about reggae which despite its cultural roots in ska ended up as a global phenomenon and also became the main inspiration of the 70s/80s 2tone multi racial music scene. Many cultural things are borrowed, one just has to look at Peter Green, Jimmy Page, Brian Jones, John Mayall, Cream, etc. Is a white man playing the blues cultural appropriation? (I exclude Eric Clapton for a reason). I agree no one should be sent home for wearing their hair in the way it naturally is in the same way a girl shouldn’t be sent home for wearing too short a skirt or for a visible bra strap but I can’t agree that white people cant wear dreads and I’ll also never stop playing the blues.

        1. @broke1984 I don’t think I maybe expressed myself very clearly (I was working on FP1 at the time)

          I think there is a case, when talking about reggae culture, to say that lots of people engaged with it, yeah, have dreadlocks and are white. Same as not every black person *has* to have dreadlocks, of course. There is a line between being part of a scene and appreciating and participating in something honestly and with knowledge of the context – and with wearing the symbols of that scene as a fashion statement. I don’t think anyone honestly believes that Bieber’s hairstyle is related to his deep integration into the reggae and roots community.

          There’s a bigger, separate issue with the hairstyle being perceived as more threatening or aggressively anti-authoritarian when black people wear it. ‘Dreadlocks’ covers a lot of different black hairstyles, not just the ones traditionally associated with reggae and even the twisted, formal type will often result in kids getting punished or people being told their style is ‘unprofessional’ in a workplace. Some of that is due to its appropriation as a symbol of anti-authoritarianism by white people, so there is an interaction between the two.

          1. Stop. Just stop it.
            You are making everything worse with your woke garbage. We are here for f1 news, not does some random woke 34 year old FORMULA E FAN! allow you to wear your hair as you choose.

            Get a clue child!

          2. I’ve been writing for this site since 2018, apologies if you’ve only just arrived.

      12. my god these people have the THINNEST skin, not to mention beyond uneducated. thank you @hazelsouthwell

        1. I think the thin skin is at the NY Times ULTRA wealthy white girl writer who started in the last time. Never mind the fact that sorry, dreads are NOT the exclusive hair of Saharan based peoples, it’s not learn history or STAY IN YOUR LANE. I have the free time and interest and have read, they appear in ALL cultures.

    2. To be fair you Beliebers are a bit touchy about your boy being criticized at the best of times.

      1. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
        30th April 2021, 12:11

        I wouldn’t say I’ve ever listen to a song of the man, but after I reading the article in question, I thought it was a rather good example of ‘oh dear what have they come up with this time’.

    3. Exactly, the whole thing is a joke. I mean, how have we come to the point where there’s far left propaganda shared by a journalist on a F1 website.

      1. @paeschli fortunately I was from the USSR so can actually help with some expertise here

        Hard left propaganda: all property must be collectivised in order to combat the decadence of capitalism
        Not hard left propaganda: Justin Bieber’s hairstyle isn’t in very good taste, all things considered

        1. There’s a difference between saying Bieber’s hair looks bad and saying Bieber’s hairstyle is somehow racist. The first can be a perfectly valid personal opinion, the second is a sign of the current anti-white racism propagated by the far-left.

          1. Cultural appropriation and racism are not the same thing, although racism is why cultural appropriation is a problem. Cultural appropriation is using someone else’s symbols or sign, especially where they are not allowed to, for profit – whether that’s financial or in terms of using their look to make yourself seem cooler, despite having no authentic claim to it.

            Just like it’s not cool to wear a headdress for fashion on Instagram while native Americans continue to face prejudice for participating in their cultural heritage. It doesn’t make some influencer an out-and-out racist to do it, it’s just insensitive – and can be genuinely hurtful to people who would like to be allowed ownership of their own cultural symbols, to wear and display them freely and without criticism themselves.

          2. Perfectly said, Patrick.

          3. @hazelsouthwell What is cultural appropriation really? Were Pelosi and co are wearing the Ashanti colors, the original slave drivers of Africa a problem too? What’s your definition of hurtful? Why do you think you knew better than African?

      2. Agreed. So fed up with this garbage permeating everything. It’s harmful to society.

    4. I think if there would be much less problems with discrimination (every kind of it, against any kind of race, religion, point of view, etc.) then terms like “cultural appropriation” would not even exist, people could have more fun wearing the slighly different people’s stlye and so on. Because doing so is fun and fashion in it’s bengin form, and not practiced to express hate and similar feelings. So to solve it, the world, including law, and law enforcement has to evolve a lot, basically in every country.
      Almost everyone faces some kind of discrimination (let it be racism, ageism, elitism, bullying from bosses), but in this world, at marginal cases the person who can afford the better law specialist is the person who wins. There are so many things what has to evolve to at least partially solve the issues with society and disctimination.
      Racism is one kind of discrimination with the deepest roots, it is rooted in fear. In fear from the different. Almost every problems of society, of humans, or of F1 are rooted in fear, greed, and similar low level things. The less conscious a person is the more fear (or similar problems) one has. I hate pocket nazis so much, they are the literal shy nothing, when they are trying to persuade me, to feed me with their stale and bad views, I used to hint them somewhat similarly: “Ok, let’s be a man then Mister, go alone and pull a John McClane in Bronx, at least at your local neighbouring hood”, but of course the response is silence most often.

      1. Oh I reported myself, instead of replying, sorry, the UI strikes again. Buttons are too close to each other.

        Imo capitalism and far leftism are sized like pieces of dust in the whole history of humans. If we consider that it is very safe to say that since 4000 years there are cities, even large ones, their existence were known by many, so they could move in a conscious and prospering environment if they wanted to do so, the timespan in we have seen these two is just short, we can not consider them being the final solution or the ultimate right thing. While far rightism and racism are proved themselves to be fundamentally wrong.

      2. I agree. They’re made up terms to use against white people and further add anger and division.

    5. Give me some popcorn.

    6. @barryfromdownunder I must admit I was unaware of this controversy until today and it’s a complicated one with a bit of nuance to understand what the issue is. But having read a few articles I would say that Hazel is mostly correct in her assessment as even if you are unaware of the potential insult you are causing to other cultures, that is not an excuse to act as you please, especially when it is something as trivial as your fashion choices. I read a few different articles on the issue and I found this one to be particularly informative for anyone who is curious to read further on the subject.


      1. The link messed up here because the site thinks @ overtake is a user but copy the whole link into your browser and it should work.

  8. Getting ready for the gammons to criticise this act of awareness and then cry into their Daily Mails when a news reader isn’t wearing a poppy later in the year.

  9. Many will ridicule this, but there is an upside: I’ll join them.

    1. @coldfly a true politician, make a statement that sounds positive and engaging and can be read both ways (as them might either be the critics or the mouvement).

    2. @coldfly Do you even have a social media account for the positive reading of this sentence to be meaningful?

      1. ColdFly (@)
        4th May 2021, 9:44

        I share my comments here, and you/others find it ‘meaningful’ enough to reply ;)

        1. @coldfly RaceFans is not social media; it’s a traditional website with a comments system ;)

          1. ColdFly (@)
            6th May 2021, 17:53

            This website isn’t, but the comment section – where mere mortals share ‘knowledge’ beyond their expertise level – is widely considered social media.

            My definition of social media is any place where anybody can share and the word count is in excess of newsworthiness ;)

          2. @coldfly That would be inaccurate from a technical perspective. Of course, if we’re using person definitions, not much point discussing this further ;)

          3. ColdFly (@)
            8th May 2021, 23:00

            Don’t be blindsided by my latter comment, @alianora-la-canta, it is merely my view of the typical quality level of Social Media posts.

            As I mentioned above:

            This website isn’t, but the comment section () is widely considered social media.

            Of the various types of Social Media the comment section of this site fits squarely in:

            6. Blog comments and forums

            An online forum is a site that lets users engage in conversations by posting and responding to community messages.

  10. If F1 is wholly committed to combatting any form of discrimination, online or otherwise, they should join media blackout including session broadcast.

    1. What media blackout?

      1. That’s the point. What three days social media blackout do? Anyone reporting sporting event during that days are racist? Better stop every media instead.

        1. Bottom line. It hits those platforms in the pocket. Because those who advertise though these particular sports and the sports themselves don’t want their product associated with so much hate.
          And if you are talking about the wider media I think their response is we don’t promote hate or allow our platform to be used by others to spread such hate.

        2. Not to mention, if these people also don’t log into the social networks (likely if they’re not posting anything), the social networks don’t get their little pieces of personal information to profit from during the long weekend either.

    2. @ruliemaulana Why? The point is to protest social networks not doing enough about racism. Unless this is a very delayed reaction to last year’s international incident, Liberty has not knowingly broadcast any.

      Boycotting networks that are doing wrong in the matter is effective. Also punishing those who are not is ineffective.

  11. I hope they have discussed this with Toto beforehand. A sudden withdrawal of dopamine could have negative effects on their performance.

  12. No word on Vettel? He has been on a social media blackout all his life!

    1. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
      30th April 2021, 12:32

      I think a lot of people on twitter as well actually. I myself haven’t posted in 5 years, so surely that must mean I’m making a massive stand against racism on that platform!

  13. Sorry, but I’m pretty sure racists would find this measure laughable. Society isn’t ready to stop being racist right now… maybe one day. That doesn’t mean there’s no point fighting racism, but this doesn’t seem productive. Maybe my view is not objective because I’m not on any social media so I don’t get to know who says what.

    1. @jjlehto – This has nothing to do with the racists. It’s a measure designed to put pressure on the social media companies to start doing something about racist messages. There have been constant issues with footballs getting racist abuse this year and very little action taken by the social media platforms to stop it.

      1. I don’t know, end of the day it is about the racists… ok, and hate speech. Unfortunately, social media seems to have become too big to be so easily swayed.

    2. I think its also about the hate; not just racism, that abounds on social media and how easy it is for those platforms to monitor and ban such hate speech.
      And as we have seen in the last year, these platforms have started banning those pushing ‘hate speech’ with Instagram for example putting in measures to shield the abuse from those who follow a sport and its stars.
      Do we really want kids having to wade through a mountain of hate and abuse as a price they have to pay to follow their favourite sports stars?

    3. @jjlehto It’s viable for the same reason boycotting Nestlé by refusing to buy its chocolate when it was revealed to be using unethical practises 15 years ago was viable – it hits the social networks in the wallet.

      They use two methods to fund themselves: selling/manipulating personal information and sponsored messages/ads.

      People who don’t log in don’t provide their personal information, and the value of dated information decays quite quickly (until it hits the same value as unprovenanced information, at which point it becomes a nuisance and a minor income stream potentially forever).

      People who don’t see sponsored tweets/ads due to not being on the network don’t generate ad income for the platforms.

      Due to the football crowd, at least, advertising their boycott well in advance, a segment of Twitter’s users (in the UK, at least) won’t bother logging in, because they know they won’t be able to use the social network to follow their sport effectively. (This is part of the reason why it’s good that the broadcasts of those sports will continue, as it gives confidence people can have at least some information about their sport without resorting to logging into an affected social media platform).

      Also, reminder: racist hate messages online are illegal in the UK (where this boycott originated) and have been for a decade. Facilitating crime is also illegal in the UK. Failure to get this under control risks the platforms being banned altogether, and as Super League proved, the switch can happen very very quickly when media campaigning gets involved. That will seriously hit social media platforms’ bottom line – and may remind racists that nobody is obliged to serve elective content to those using it to engage in criminal conduct.

  14. Its not just about racist abuse as the headline suggests its about all hate speech.
    To be honest im glad its opened up a window to far superior but smaller accounts like yourselfs to get the lions shares of the attention especially with sky sports twitter joining the boycotts. Go have a big weekend Keith, Hazel and Dieter

  15. You’ve got to love it when people chime in with a comment or opinion that highlights the fact they haven’t read the article, just the headline! That, or shining a spotlight onto their own bigotry / narrowmindedness / etc (delete as appropriate)

    Hazel, I think you are fabulous and your writing top drawer. This site is lucky to have someone of your calibre, integrity and ethics – however I do have disagree a little with your comments about white guys with dreads, as someone who sported a rather fine set in the 90’s my late teens / early twenties as a (tie)dyed-in-the-wool member of the crusty-rave community in the 90’s!
    Maybe it was a factor of the difference between the time then and now (ie, cultural appropriation wasn’t a thing then), or maybe its just that my own journey and growth to being a better person needs to continue, but I never had anything but respect from the black community, either from within my own “scene” or whilst walking down Coldharbour Lane. In fact, it was on the advice a 70year old rasta when discussing that I was thinking of cutting them off, that my dreads are now buried under a tree in my mums garden “return them with the roots of a special tree in the ground, brother” is what he said.

    See, the fact that we’re having this conversation just shows the benefit you have brought to this site


    1. @unklegsif I definitely put that too harshly, there are white people who look after their dreads well, of course. And thank you for your kind words, I take praise really badly but that’s very kind of you.

      I think that’s a good example of the difference between appropriation and integration. You clearly understood your own dreadlocks in context and as part of a scene and culture that you were directly engaging with and part of, rather than wearing them as a purely fashion item out of context. It’s definitely possible to have a good cultural exchange and partnership across racial or cultural groups and demographics. I’m an immigrant myself and enjoy teaching my friends about Georgian culture and wouldn’t be at all offended if they held a supra – but I do get ticked off at really bad versions of khachapuri being sold by random artisan hipster shops, innit.

  16. If one was to look for an example of someone wearing dreads purely for fashion item out of context, then Howard Donald in 1996 springs immediately to mind – LOL

  17. yeah, right, I agree: let’s punish (?) the place’s owner where the crime (?) happened instead of those who committed it… totally reasonable

    1. @alfa145 It does punish the place’s owner (by reducing their revenue).
      Racist hate messages are illegal in the UK (where this boycott began).
      Facilitating crime (for example, by inadequete moderation of messages – for which forums have been sued in the past) is also illegal in the UK.
      So yes, this does directly punish those committing the crime (as well as indirectly punishing those who committed the other crime, by denying them space to be directly racist to certain people).

      1. @alianora-la-canta I’m pretty sure Twitter is an US company. People expressing racism on the platform should be punished, more so if they are doing so in UK where it is illegal. Not sure about punishing the platform where they shouted their ignorance from.
        “Facilitating crime” is a bit of a stretch, at best

        1. @alfa145 The law that pertains to a tweet (or any other social media message) depends on what country the tweet/message is seen in (because the test is when the material is downloaded onto the reader’s device – which happens to every web page before it appears on the device’s screen), unless there the court believes there is a clear reason why a different country is more appropriate. The publisher’s location is unlikely to be considered sufficiently relevant, unless the publisher is the sole defendent. Sole defendency is possible if it’s defending a statement it wrote itself, but not if someone else wrote it (as is the case here) because the author would automatically be a co-defendent.

          The general principle was established in the UK through R v Waddon, 2000 – yes, the same law that controlled forum and BBS posts applies here – and the specific example for racial abuse through R v Sheppard, 2010. Since then, at least 30 different countries have successfully got tweets blocked from the Twitter platform on the basis of national laws (and that’s just counting the ones involving geo-blocking – “voluntary” deletion has also been used by Twitter, and it doesn’t keep statistics on how many countries have imposed that requirement on it).

          Social media are considers the publishers of any and all messages they have on their sites (as distinct from the role of authors), from the moment those messages are reported. (Note: they’re not considered publishers of anything not reported to them under UK law, but may be under other jurisdictions). Those with anything reported to them that could be interpreted as being under UK law (remember, in the UK, by default, that includes anything read in the UK!) and are equally liable under the Ecommerce Directive and the Defamation Act 1996. This is why any site expecting UK visitors with any sort of user comment facility worth its salt has comment policies or the like, unless it’s in a country where it is confident other laws will hold sway.

          The UK government already can use the Ecommerce Directive and the Defamation Act to prosecute social media, supported further by the Defamation Act 2013. The latter states that website operators cannot be prosecuted for hosting material if they did not know or reasonably could not have known about the offending material. Given that the number of posts Twitter says it has removed from football posts (in general) since it started checking them (7000) does not come anywhere near the number of racist posts British Premier League football attracts on a given week… …Twitter’s unlikely to succeed at this defence.

          Not only is “facilitating crime” not a stretch, but the legal basis for directly prosecuting a social media platform engaging in the type of non-responsiveness to racist message reports that Twitter and Instagram in particular are accused of is very clear. Forum administrators based in the UK were expected to know this (adjusting for era) in the late-2000s (when I was a forum co-administrator) and the legal climate has got stricter since then.

  18. While writing here we all are using the alphabet. Which is a Phoenician invention (or from some other close-by Levantine people, experts have not quite agreed about this). So just by writing we are guilty of cultural appropriation and reprehensibly racist. We should all stop writing at once and close this site. And all others or course. Except the surviving Phoenicians (or whatever), if any.

    1. Phoenicians, you see, are not oppressed by or refused access to society by using their alphabet. So it’s actually very easy to understand the difference between cultural exchange an appropriation if you are not a whiny baby who demands to be allowed to do whatever you want without considering the effect on other people or facing any tiny, weeny bit of criticism.

      1. Phoenicians, you see, are not oppressed by or refused access to society by using their alphabet.

        No, they were mostly massacred and wiped out from the face of Earth, along with their Carthaginian cousins.

        1. However, that was not for their use of an alphabet; as far as can be determined so far, the Great Punic Wars were territorial in nature. Land, not being a cultural object, cannot be subject to cultural appropriation.

  19. You gotta LOVE this.
    Update: RaceFans will support the ‘#Enough’ campaign against racism on social media
    It comes from the very same people that some months ago had article over article here and were bashing MAZ, with arguments totally irrelevant with F1. Nice!

    1. Hi @f1-fan

      Examining the controversy around Nikita Mazepin’s actions, which prompted his own team and both F1 and the FIA to comment, is part of looking at the broader environment in which Formula One exists. I can’t claim to speak for Keith’s editorial decisions because I am not him but there’s a clear line when something becomes relevant because an F1 driver does it.

      As a sports media outlet, based in the UK, there’s also a clear point where we need to decide whether to work in solidarity with the majority of other outlets or to look as though we don’t support the cause of ending abuse on social media, especially when it comes to racist and discriminatory issues. Keith wrote a statement earlier that clearly states RaceFans position on the issue.

      The two are not connected.

      1. @hazelsouthwell Well, let me ask you something. What is supposed to be the job of a journalist? To pass the information for an event to other people as clean and objective as possible or to have a pre-fixed opinion for an event and then pass his own thoughts as “information”? If you say the first, you should know that the second is what occurs everyday on this site. Both Keith and Dieter are MASTERS at twisting and presenting facts the way these events fit their narrative.

        1. So why waste your time coming here and engaging with the publishers? Surely there must be some appeal. I for one love the site and very much appreciate the work that goes into it. I find it sad that discussing the faceless abuse that has festered for decades online now is so controversial. Of course something needs to be done. The show of support for change this weekend sure won’t solve the problem but hopefully it’s a good start to turning the tide.

          1. @tommy-c it has been fairly ironic that this thread has led to absolutely vile emails coming my way (and a lot of comments that weren’t fit to see the light of day) – nothing like taking a stand against online abuse to make people need to show they can send it to you.

        2. @f1-fan the job of a journalist 10 years ago didn’t involve twitter so I am very confident that it won’t kill the entire industry not to use it for 3 days.

  20. Imaginary year of 2030:

    Day I: Scientists say they discovered the “racist gene”, younger people wanting to make their mark and giving meaning to their lives in “The Movement” want all population genetically edited.
    Hazel from an earlier generation is slow to react and suddenly the “The Movement” looks at her with suspicion… friends start to shun her, she would have difficulty to find more than menial work in a world that in practice turned any non compliant thinking impossible to have in any decisional position or job long ago…

    Day X : One of scientists had a personal fallout with one powerful person in “The Movement” . In the news suddenly appear that the research was not well done and the said scientists suddenly fall in disgrace. Friends start to call Hazel back with overzelous praise. She will be promoted to a high place in “The Movement”. Genetically editing the population is for the time being considered not “correct”… research neverthless continues…

    PS: Beware of of getting those of ideas that allow you to have too much power over other persons. Remember the word against Oppression is not YES , it is NO. NO, i don’t want to be a slave, NO i don’t want to have sex with you. NO, i don’t to be part of it. NO, i want to be left alone. NO, i am going my own way.

    1. I must congratulate you on this short work of science fiction but as someone who was from the soviet union I am afraid we have done longer and funnier versions of it.

      1. It is significant that you found it funny, and that you did not use the adjective deadlier.

        1. @AlexS She was giving you the benefit of the doubt and assuming that your post was an attempt at satire.

          1. @keithedin I was just being sarky tbh, not a lot else to be done with that. Especially as someone who actually knows what totalitarian regimes and their aftermath is.

    2. @f1-fan We already know there isn’t a single gene for racism, and that there are valid evolutionary reasons why that is so. (Specifically, there haven’t been the components usually used to define distinct races, let alone sufficiently widespread recognition of them to qualify as a general aspect of the human concept of society, for long enough for genetics to have caught up).

  21. This entire page is a waste of energy.

    Imagine telling someone they can’t have a hair style because they’ve gone the wrong skin colour? The crazy authoritarian that thinks they’re a modern example of liberty isn’t exactly very clever. They’re possibly slightly thicker than the people that think being silent on social media will help battle racism…after criticising said “silence is violence” only last week.

    The only reassurance I have in all the 97 other nonsensical comments on this page is that when there’s an election, and all these views have to face the electorate, they get resoundingly smashed into oblivion.

    1. @joshgeake This posts suggests you don’t know how social media make money/defray their losses. Because, if you did, you’d know exactly why this action costs the social media companies involved money, as well as why it risks them receiving further sanctions from the government – and, therefore, why it is likely to encourage them to do more to fight online racism.

      As such, you just paid “the authoritarian” a major compliment that I don’t think you intended to make.

      1. The idea that these companies can hire millions of actual people that can be trusted to objectively judge every single piece of user generated content is frankly laughable.

        Tbh I look at those proudly announcing their silence with a bit of a cringe.

        They’re effectively on strike and making demands that are impossible to meet. Everything else about dreadlocks etc above is even more daft.

  22. G (@unklegsif)
    1st May 2021, 8:43

    Again, did you even read the article or ANY of Hazel’s further commentary?

    This isn’t about silencing anyone or making a protest… its about hitting the platforms that facilitate and appear to do nothing (to very little) where it hurts, ie, the poc£ket, thus motivating them to do more to prevent it

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