There has been a 350% increase in abuse directed towards Manchester United's players since September 2019, according to the club.
Ahead of this weekend's upcoming social media boycott, where United will join the rest of English football by switching off all Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, the Premier League side have published statistics highlighting the worrying scale of player abuse.
Ahead of a social media boycott, Manchester United have revealed there was a 350% increase in racial and homophobic abuse directed at their players between September 2019 and February 2021. #MUFC pic.twitter.com/d5pCqlALk4- Sam Pilger (@sampilger) April 30, 2021
In a post on their official website, United have analysed the level of abuse being used against players' names or account handles.
The analysis covered racist, homophobic and abusive comments from September 2019 to February 2021.
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 finding the following results:
• 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).
The club also revealed that fans are also being targeted by abuse on social media, with the growing issue of user-to-user abuse within the football community.
It is believed a sharp rise was apparent from the summer of 2020 and 43% of these posts were racist in nature, while 7% were homophobic or transphobic.
Richard Arnold, who is the Group Managing Director at United, explained the reasoning behind the boycott this weekend.
"We have been actively campaigning against discrimination for some time through our All Red All Equal initiative. The level of support we have received for this work from our fans has been hugely encouraging but these figures show that despite that, the level of abuse our players and fans receive is on the up.
"It must be said that while these numbers are shocking, they do only represent a 0.01% of conversations that take place on social media about the club and the players.
"By taking part in this boycott this weekend, we, alongside the rest of English football, want to shine a light on the issue. It will generate debate and discussion and will raise awareness of the levels of abuse our players and our fans receive."
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