Hoffenheim join English clubs in anti-racism social media shutdown

Berlin (AFP) – Bundesliga side Hoffenheim said on Monday they would be joining English clubs in boycotting social networks for three days next weekend as a protest against online racist abuse.

From April 30 to May 3, Hoffenheim, who are currently 11th in the table, will freeze their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. 

“Social networks have unfortunately become a place to pour out frustration and hatred,” said club media director Christian Frommert.

“It is time to engage actively in tolerance, respect and humanity.” 

Two Hoffenheim players, Ryan Sessegnon and Diadie Samassekou, were recent victims of online racist abuse. 

The German outfit are joining the initiative with Premier League outfits, the three divisions of the Football League, the Women’s Super League and the Women’s Championship who will switch off their social media accounts from late Friday until early Monday. 

The action comes “in response to the ongoing and sustained discriminatory abuse received online by players and many others connected to football,” the English bodies said in a joint statement on Sunday. 

On February 11, in an open letter to Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, English football officials called for action “for reasons of simple human decency”. 

Twitter replied it did not intend to censor comments from anonymous accounts.

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