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Man United Shuts Down Twitter and Facebook Accounts For Its Footballers

ryan giggs facebook page Man United Shuts Down Twitter and Facebook Accounts For Its Footballers

Manchester United posted an announcement on its website Friday that said that none of its players maintain personal profiles on social networking sites.

“The club wishes to make it clear that no Manchester United players maintain personal profiles on social networking websites,” said the note posted on ManUtd.com. “Fans encountering any web pages purporting to be written by United players should treat them with extreme scepticism. Any official news relating to Manchester United or its players will be communicated via ManUtd.com.”

However what the announcement failed to mention is that several Manchester United footballers used to have accounts on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook accounts, but they have either been shut down or the contents on those pages have been removed presumably under the orders of Manchester United FC.

Our research reveals that Twitter accounts have been removed for Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs and Darren Fletcher, while Facebook accounts have been removed for Wes Brown. Meanwhile, the contents of the Facebook wall for the following footballers have been erased: Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand. Pictured above is the wall of Ryan Giggs’s page on Facebook showing that the contents have been removed.

We can imagine why Manchester United would want to prevent its footballers from frequenting social networking sites. One, it’s a potential public relations disaster especially if a player says something controversial or releases information before it’s been approved by a club’s communications or PR department. Two, it encourages football supporters to find information about their favorite players outside of the official club website. Fewer visits to the official club website results in fewer opportunities to generate revenue by selling merchandise or website memberships. Three, and perhaps it’s the most important reason of all, it’s an issue of control. Professional footballers are under the control of the club almost at all times in terms of what they say, which members of the press they can talk to (if any) and what curfews they’re under. But social networking systems threaten the status quo because its professional footballers having personal contact with fans, the media and others, which could be terrifying for some football clubs.

While Manchester United is tightening the screws on which sites its players can frequent, Sunderland continues to allow striker Darren Bent to use Twitter and he’s definitely building a cult following (29,000 followers as of press time). Reading Bent’s tweets is refreshing and gives you a better appreciation of the footballer. Bent has embraced Twitter to such an extent that he even has football boots with his Twitter handle and Twitter logo printed on them.

In this world where professional footballers are so distanced from its fans, it’s a pleasure to see Darren Bent and other footballers using Twitter while clubs such as Manchester United (who don’t even have an official Twitter account for the club) are living in the stone age.

Here are the top 7 reasons why you should follow EPL Talk on Twitter.

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013. View all posts by Christopher Harris →
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21 Responses to Man United Shuts Down Twitter and Facebook Accounts For Its Footballers

  1. sucka99 says:

    “Two, it encourages football supporters to find information about their favorite players outside of the official club website. Fewer visits to the official club website results in fewer opportunities to generate revenue by selling merchandise or website memberships”

    yup – gotta do whatever it takes to get out of debt lol

  2. CFTV says:

    I have recently become addicted in the past couple of months to Twitter and think its insane the club doesn’t have an official feed just to drive people to the website. I can understand why clubs don’t want their players to use twitter because the media in the UK is tabloid based and anything that a player says can be twisted and turned by the people that publish the daily rags but it is nuts for the club not to have one to promote sales/specials in the club store, to drive people to the site to check out the managers gameday notes, and player stories. I see Sky, ESPN, Fox, and other outlets using twitter to get people to go to their website with a headline and a link I would think that all sports teams would want to use twitter to spread info to the clubs fans who don’t think they should check out the club website.

    I am a big United fan and never check out their website as it is just not front and center in my life or top of mine however I would be more apt to check it out if they promoted it on a site like twitter letting me know that they have an exclusive story on the De Silva’s trip back to Brazil, what is Denis Irwin is up to these days, and Fergie’s decade in review if it showed up on my twitter feed.

    Plus if you look at the good that twitter can be used for social reasons like just yesterday NFL WR Dontae Stallworth said he would donate a dollar for every user that he had by midnight this morning towards the relief effort in Haiti. When I started to follow him around 4pm yesterday he had 19k followers and when I went to bed he was up to about 33k followers. His friends who play NFL ball Josh Cribbs and Wes Walker matched his contribution and now a Haiti Relief Fund that was put together by NBA stars Dwayne Wade and Alonzo Mourning has close to 100k dollars more going to it just because people clicked the follow button. Imagine what a world wide superstar like Wayne Rooney could generate or a Ryan Giggs if they did something like that with the popularity they have the world over?

    Check out me on twitter under the SN; CFTV and Dontae Stallworth can be followed at D_Stallworth18

  3. Big Brother – I hate the way businessmen have come in to change decades of easier access in order to make more money out of the fans!

    Twitter and Facebook are relatively new social network tools but the corporate control in the background is scary and not good for the future access for fans.

    Man United and Liverpool are both coming under increasing pressure to make money. Out of the so called big 4 only Arsenal seem to have their house in order.

    How long before a big club in the EPL goes into administration? Portsmouth isn’t a particularly big club – Liverpool look the most shaky out of the ‘Big Four.’

    ps time for Mancini to go – anyone who doesnt think that Hughed would have got exactly the same results if he stayed is a moron – ohhhhh and he wouldn’t have brought Robinho on for Santa Cruz. (he would have been sold)

  4. Brian says:

    Michael Carrick’s Facebook has been deleted as well.

  5. Chris Norton says:

    I find this truly shocking, you can’t just say that none of your employees can use Twitter, Facebook or Linked-in that is ridiculous. This won’t work and will be hard to regulate – I just hope other employers don’t see this as an answer to avoiding any online mishaps. I think the Ryan Babel (Liverpool) case this weekend may have had something to do with this as players try to lever a deal out of their relevant clubs.

    I don’t see this as being a trend and I don’t think it will work. If I was advising them, I would have created a set of guidelines and taken the players through them.

  6. Bishopville Red says:

    Chris Norton:

    You can if you are paying them tons of money for their image rights. That’s the rub; when you sell your public presence, someone else gets to control it.

    SB

  7. man99utd says:

    The company I work for is allowed to control what stocks I invest in and when. They’re able to do this because I work in the financial industry and insider information is always an issue. I don’t like it, but there isn’t much I can do about it as they all do it now. Bishopville Red is spot on. Companies can restrict their employees as term of employment.

  8. Daughtry says:

    There’s another valid reason for this control. Shutting down social network accounts allows the club to make a clear statement to their fans that anyone posing as a player is fake. The reasons stated above are factors, but the most important reason is probably protecting young and/or gullible fans from being harmed by people posing as their favorite players.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Daughtry, true, but with Twitter celebrities can get a verified account, where it clearly is visible that the celebrity’s account is legit — if they really want to.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  9. evan says:

    what famous footballers do have twitter accounts?

  10. sg says:

    some of the youth team lads at united still have their facebooks up. maybe its a ‘first team’ only edict?

  11. Tony Henderson says:

    I think you may have got the wrong end of the stick here and this is nothing to do with the club censoring players or trying to drive more traffic to the official club site.

    Reading the statement from Manchester United I suspect this action has been taken because the club is engaged in a Bond issue.

    Having worked for a company that went through a similar process, and another company that floated on a US stock market, I know that the restrictions on what employees can say and to who are very strict – some would say draconian. The lawyers keep a very tight control over statements and only a handful of people are authorised to speak publicly. You are even advised/warned not to discuss the matter with your family.

    Essentially all information about the company has to be made through official channels and made available to everyone. There are very strict penalties if you breech these rules and the real fear is that an investor may use any breach of the rules to sue the company if they feel they have been misled i.e. buying into the deal and claiming it was based on a statement by an employee

    I suspect in this case the club has simply taken action to prevent the players inadvertently falling foul of these rules. Statements by a senior player could be seen as carrying some authority and inside knowledge.

    Now as a United fan should we be in a position where the Glazers have to go cap-in-hand to investors to bail them out putting the future of the club (in my humble opinion) at risk is another matter!

  12. Layla says:

    http://www.twitter.com/manutd_fc
    The official website for the world’s most popular football club.Tweeting all the latest news,updates and happenings at the Manchester United Football Club.

    Just to make it clear…

    • The Gaffer says:

      Layla, I don’t believe that is the official Man United Twitter account. Most of the tweets are in Arabic, and there’s no announcement on the Man United site about an official Twitter address.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  13. Rob says:

    United’s haven’t banned players from using social networking sites. Rio ferdinand still has his Official Myspace account online at http://www.myspace.com/rioferdinand

    If they had been banned it wouldnt still be online. Those twitter accounts were fakes! They are imposters. That was the whole point of United’s statement. Read the wording carefully, its a warning for fans to beware of imposters impersonating players:

    Player websites warning
    15/01/2010 17:46, Report by Communications Dept.

    The club wishes to make it clear that no Manchester United players maintain personal profiles on social networking websites.

    Fans encountering any web pages purporting to be written by United players should treat them with extreme scepticism.

    Any official news relating to Manchester United or its players will be communicated via ManUtd.com.

    And now this today from bbc website:

    Manchester United warns about social networking
    Page last updated at 16:09 GMT, Wednesday, 20 January 2010

    Manchester United football club has posted a message on its website explaining that its players do not belong to online social networks.

    It advises users to treat any profiles in the names of its players with “extreme scepticism”.

    The club says this is because of the high numbers of people impersonating team members online.

    There are many accounts across social network sites which claim to be in the name of high profile footballers.

    “We don’t want to stop players doing what they like within reason in their spare time,” a Manchester United spokesperson told BBC News.

    “But we do advise our players – especially the young lads – to be careful.”

    Manchester United players Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs and Darren Fletcher are believed to have had genuine accounts on Twitter, which are now closed.

    “It wouldn’t have been us who stopped them,” said the spokesperson.

  14. Joe says:

    Liverpool’s Babel twitter account is password protected, too. He post a furious note on there and Rafa may have called the twitter guys to shut down the account of the young Dutchman.

    By the way Robin van Persie, Cesc Fabregas, Vermaelen, Rosicky and Alex Song are big geeks. They hooked up on Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, and several other places.

  15. Rob Scott says:

    Darren Bents twitter is now no more – they got to him too!

  16. vuitton says:

    This website is awesome. I constantly come across something new & different right here. Thank you for that data.

  17. A wanna join the united support club please.

  18. A wanna join the united support club

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