Arsenal have responded with a poignant message on their official Twitter page after club legend Thierry Henry announced he was quitting social media due to a lack of action over racist abuse.

Several high-profile footballers past and present – including Wilfried Zaha, Reece James, Fred, Ryan Sessegnon and Ian Wright – have shared sickening comments they have received on their pages over the last few months and social media bosses are under pressure to better deal with toxic online hate.

Players being targeted with vile messages has become almost the norm, with users able to hide behind anonymous profiles, and ex-Arsenal and France striker Henry has taken a stand by deactivating his Twitter and Instagram accounts until regulation is improved.

The 1998 World Cup winner said it had become ‘far too easy’ to send abuse without consequence.

‘Hi Guys. From tomorrow morning I will be removing myself from social media until the people in power are able to regulate their platforms with the same vigour and ferocity that they currently do when you infringe copyright,’ Henry told his followers on Thursday.

‘The sheer volume of racism, bullying and resulting mental torture to individuals is too toxic to ignore. There HAS to be some accountability.

‘It is far too easy to create an account, use it to bully and harass without consequence and still remain anonymous.

‘Until this changes, I will be disabling my accounts across all social platforms. I’m hoping this happens soon.’

Reacting to Henry’s decision to quit social media, Arsenal posted: ‘This shouldn’t have to be the answer. #StopOnlineAbuse.’

Henry also received the support of former Arsenal team-mate, Martin Keown, who said the Frenchman’s boycott sent out a ‘huge message’ to social media companies that change is needed.

‘Thierry Henry wants to come away from social media because of the abuse he’s getting – and that’s massive,’ the ex-Arsenal and England defender told talkSPORT.

‘That’s a really huge message and that’s maybe the best way to try to eradicate it and get change.’

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden, reacted to Henry’s stance by stressing that the government are ‘absolutely determined’ to crack down on social media abuse.

‘No one should have to switch off social media because of abuse,’ he tweeted.

‘Social media firms must do more to tackle this and we are introducing new laws to hold platforms to account. This is complex and we must get it right, but I’m absolutely determined to tackle racist abuse online.”

‘No one should have to switch off social media because of abuse,’ he said.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.