For the boycott, the club and Manchester United Foundation will switch off all official Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts across the world. Manchester United has conducted its own in-depth review into the issue to analyse the level of abuse which players are subjected to across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The review looked at online activity from September 2019 to February 2021 and checked for abusive words being used against players’ names or account handles and covered racist, homophobic and abusive comments.
The analysis has found that since September 2019, there has been a 350% increase in abuse directed towards the club’s players. In the analysis, every abusive post was categorised with 3,300 posts targeting players who were playing for United at that time across the reporting period.
The review found that:
• 86% of these posts were racist, while 8% were homophobic or transphobic;
• this activity peaked in January 2021 with over 400 abusive player posts recorded;
• the vast majority of racist posts contained either the N word (and variants on the
spelling) or emojis used with racist intent (monkey, chimp, banana, gorilla).
Fans are also being targeted by abuse on social media. The review highlighted the growing issue of user-to-user abuse within the football community with a sharp rise apparent from the summer of 2020. 43% of these posts were racist in nature, while 7% were homophobic or transphobic.