Sky Sports announces plans to tackle rise in online abuse across its platforms

Sky Sports has announced a set of new measures to combat abuse and hate across its digital platforms, following a rise in offensive online behaviour from users.

Over 40 million users engage on Sky Sports’ channels on digital and social media platforms – including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – which have seen a spike in hateful comments on the basis of race, colour, gender, nationality, ethnicity, disability, religion, sexuality, age and class.

To help tackle online hate, Sky Sports has put in place a series of actions to counteract the behaviour of a minority of users, which are effective immediately.

From 1 October, across its digital and social platforms, Sky Sports has committed to the following actions:

  • Sky Sports will use the power of its reach and voice to highlight the scale of online hate and abuse and the damage that it can inflict upon people
  • We will seek to remove as many abusive and hateful comments posted on and our channels on social media platforms as we can
  • We will block users bringing hate to our comments sections on our website and channels on social media platforms
  • We will report hate and abuse to the social media platforms
  • We will report the most serious cases to the relevant authorities
  • We strive to make our channels respectful places where sporting conversations thrive
  • We will keep commissioning journalism that shines a light on social injustices and inequality in sport
  • We will work with the social media platforms and policymakers to make their platforms safer and more respectful

Director of Sky Sports news and digital publishing, Mark Alford, said: “We’re proud to talk about sport with more than 40 million users of Sky Sports social and digital platforms across the world. We love to see the passion for sport when we engage with sports fans discussing and debating subjects that mean so much to them.

“Unfortunately, there is a small minority who use digital platforms to post hate, abuse and profanity against our content and our people. This needs to stop. We would like the major social media companies to do more to stop harmful content on their platforms. They have the best tools and visibility to act against abusive or hateful comments and owe a duty of care to their users. The onus should be on the social media platforms to behave like responsible publishers.

“We commit to making free from abuse, and will strive to make our channels on social media a safer space for all sports fans,” Alford continued.

Sky Sports analyst, Micah Richards, added: “I have been a victim of racial abuse online as have so many others. It is – of course – horrible to receive and the negative impact such comments have can outweigh all the positive aspects of social media. These commitments are a positive step as large publishers like Sky Sports need to use their voice to address some of these issues, help educate and ultimately eradicate all forms of online abuse. “

Users who see a reply to Sky Sports posts and/or content with an expression of hate are asked to copy the URL to the post and email it to [email protected].

Sky is a supporter of National Inclusion Week and is committed to diversity in sport, both as an employer, broadcaster and publisher; covering all aspects of sport, from live action and analysis to highlighting racial injustice and emphasising issues affecting women in sport.

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