Lionel Messi celebrated 200 million Instagram followers by advocating against racial discrimination and social media abuse of all kinds. He urged his 200 million Instagram followers to support him in the fight against the rising cases of abuse on the Internet.
The 33-year-old Argentine football star acknowledged British sport for agreeing to boycott social media in protest against racism and other forms of hate on the internet.
Recall that since Friday, April 30, all football-related bodies in the United Kingdom including the English FA and the Premier League have boycotted social media. The boycott is expected to last until Monday, May 3.
Some of the football bodies that are participating in the social media boycott include The FA, Premier League, EFL, FA Women’s Super League, FA Women’s Championship, PFA, LMA, PGMOL, Kick It Out, and the FSA.
Also, The Scottish FA, Scottish Professional Football League, Scottish Women’s Football, and PFA Scotland are participating in the four days boycott of social media.
At last check, even non-footballing associations in Britain have joined in the four days boycott of social media since Friday. The non-footballing bodies that joined the campaign include England and Wales Cricket Board, England Rugby, Premiership Rugby, Scottish Rugby, the Professional Darts Corporation, British Cycling, the Lawn Tennis Association, and the British Horseracing Authority.
Other non-footballing associations participating in the four days social media boycott are The British Basketball League, Women’s British Basketball League, the Rugby Football League, Super League Europe, Rugby League World Cup 2021, and the Rugby League Players’ Association.
In the statement Lionel Messi released via Instagram and written in Spanish, the FC Barcelona talisman said he decided not to celebrate the feat of reaching 200 million Instagram followers due to the rising cases of racism and online abuse.
While appreciating his followers for following him, Lionel Messi urged them to give importance to all the people on social media and allow people to express themselves without fear of being insulted or abused.
“Let’s raise our voices to stop abuse on social media. It does not matter if we are anonymous, famous, athletes, referees or followers of a game, even someone outside all this, it does not matter the race, religion, ideology or gender”, he wrote.
“No one deserves to be mistreated or insulted. We live together seeing and experiencing abuse, increasingly more and worse in each of the networks, without anyone doing anything to prevent it. We must strongly condemn these hostile attitudes and demand that the companies that run the networks take urgent action against these behaviors.”
This is the first time this season Lionel Messi has staged such a far-reaching campaign against racism and online abuse. Like many other footballers who have risen their voices against online abuse, the FC Barcelona forward wants the handlers of all the social media platforms to come up with stringent measures to stop the menace.
Below is the full statement Lionel Messi released to advocate for respect on social media
“I see that I have just reached the 200 million people who follow me on this network, however, because of what is happening today, I am not going to take it as a reason for celebration. Of course, I appreciate all the love and support that I always receive from you, but I think the time has come to give importance to all the PEOPLE behind each profile, that we realize that behind each account there is a person flesh and blood, who laughs, cries, enjoys and suffers, human beings with feelings.
Let’s raise our voices to stop abuse on social media. It does not matter if we are anonymous, famous, athletes, referees, or followers of a game, even someone outside all this, it does not matter the race, religion, ideology, or gender … No one deserves to be mistreated or insulted. We live together seeing and experiencing abuse, increasingly more and worse in each of the networks, without anyone doing anything to prevent it. We must strongly condemn these hostile attitudes and demand that the companies that run the networks take urgent action against these behaviors.
I would like you, the 200 million people who accompany me, to become the 200 million reasons that exist to make the networks a safe and respectful place, where we can share what we want without fear of being insulted. . And that insults, racism, abuse, and discrimination remain outside of them forever. For you who are part of these networks and who are always with me, I hope you will accompany me and support me in this crusade.
Big hug to all and congratulations to all the football people in the United Kingdom for their idea of putting together the campaign against abuse and discrimination in networks.”