The Argentine was in no mood to celebrate reaching 200 million followers on Instagram amid football’s social media boycott to fight discrimination
Barcelona star Lionel Messi has urged his social media followers to help put an end to online abuse.
Discrimination on social networks remains a prominent issue and football clubs in England have taken a stand by boycotting Twitter, Facebook and Instagram this weekend in an attempt to convince the companies to do more to combat the problem.
After reaching 200 million followers on Instagram, Messi has issued a plea to his followers, urging them to help fight racism and abuse.
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What did Messi say?
“I see that I’ve just reached 200 million followers on Instagram, but given what is happening today, I’m not going to take it as a reason to celebrate,” Messi wrote on a post.
“I think the time has come to give importance to the people behind each profile, to realise that behind each account there is a person of flesh and blood.
“We live together seeing and experiencing abuse, more of it and worse each time on each network, without anyone doing anything to stop it.
“I would like you, the 200 million people who follow me, to become 200 million motivations to make social media networks safe and respectful places.”
What is the social media boycott?
UEFA has joined Premier League clubs, the Football Association (FA), English Football League (EFL) and Women’s Super League in refusing to post on social media over the weekend. The European Clubs Association (ECA) has also joined in.
The boycott started on Friday afternoon and will run until Monday night.
As well as urging social media companies to do more to combat the problem, they have also demanded the UK government ensure that its Online Safety Bill will introduce legislation that will hold networks to account for what happens on their platforms.
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