Due to ongoing online racial violence, Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has turned over management of his social media channels to an anti-cyberbullying charity.
Henderson has teamed up with the Cybersmile Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to assisting victims of cyberbullying and encouraging positive internet behavior.
The England international said he was on the verge of removing all of his social media pages, but he “wasn’t sure who it would support.”
Following Liverpool’s 3-1 Champions League loss to Real Madrid on Tuesday, Henderson’s Liverpool teammates Trent Alexander-Arnold and Naby Keita were racially abused on social media.
“I partnered with Cybersmile for the People Not Profiles campaign because the problem of online abuse is continuing to destroy lives every day,” Henderson said.
“It has been great working with Cybersmile to address such an important issue and it is my hope that this campaign raises awareness of how seriously online abuse can affect people and also lets people know there is help and support available to them.”
In his tweets, Henderson added that “platforms should be doing more” and he doesn’t “really see much changing.”
“Alongside our partners in football, we condemn racism in all its forms,” the statement reads. “Racist behavior, abuse and harassment have absolutely no place on our service.”
“At Twitter, protecting the health of the public conversation is essential to us, and this means making sure Twitter is a safe place to express yourself and follow the conversation about football, without fear of abuse or intimidation.”
Henderson’s statement came the same day that Championship club Swansea City and Scottish Premiership club Rangers declared a week-long social media boycott in response to racist harassment directed at their players online.
Racist harassment has been directed at Swansea City players Yan Dhanda, Jamal Lowe, and Jamal Lowe on social media this year.
Dhanda received racist abuse on Instagram after Swansea’s FA Cup loss to Manchester City on February 10. He later said that Facebook, which owns Instagram, had added “more fuel to the fire” by not removing the account from the site, but limiting the user’s ability to send private messages “for a limited time.”
“This decision has been taken as a result of conversations between senior club staff, players and management,” Swansea said in a statement.
“As a football club, we have seen several of our players subjected to abhorrent abuse in the past seven weeks alone, and we feel it is right to take a stand against behavior that is a blight on our sport, and society at large.”
The alleged racial violence received by Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara against Slavia Prague in the Europa League on March 18 is being investigated by UEFA, the governing body of European football. In a post on the club’s website, Slavia Prague flatly denied the allegations.
Kamara told ITV on Thursday that he has been receiving racist online harassment “every day” since the incident.
Rangers said the boycott was to “underline the continuing questions about social media outlets’ lack of transparency and responsibility.”
“In particular, we are concerned with the daily racist abuse our players have to endure, and believe that although social media can be a very positive and healthy platform for communication, there is undoubted concern the levels of hate are now spiraling out of control,” it said in a statement.