Former Arsenal striker Theirry Henry has said racism against footballers on social media must stop.
In an interview on BBC Newsnight programme on Monday evening, the 43 years old Frenchman urged social media companies to take decisive actions to stop the growing problem.
He also explained why he took the decision to leave social media.
“It was time to make a stand. Things I used to hear in the stadiums and the streets are coming more and more into social media, especially in my community, and the sport I love the most, football.
“I thought it was time to make a stand and time to make people realize it is not OK to get abused online, it’s not OK to be bullied or harassed online. The impact it can have on your mental health is second to none, we know people are committing suicides because of it. Enough is enough. We need actions. It is too easy to get an account and get away with it at times.”
Several players have been bullied online in recent weeks. They include Marcus Rashford, Wilfred Zaha, Anthony Martial, Fred, WIllian and Anthony Rudiger, while many others in lower leagues also experience the horror.
Twitter has committed to “developing solutions” and Instagram promised “tougher actions” despite already acting on 6.6 million pieces of hate speech between October and December last year.
Henry, however, added that social media companies should be more accountable due to importance of their platforms.
“It is not a safe place, Wilfried Zaha says when he goes on social media he is scared to look at the comments, it should not be like that. It should not be like you feel you should not do something.
“I think everybody should be concerned about what’s happening. All I’m saying is, ‘can it be a safe place?’ At the end of the day it is a great tool and is vital and a great way to connect with your fans, or to put out a statement to rectify something.
“But it is too easy for the people who are trying to harm people to get away with it and hide behind fake accounts. For me it is about accountability.”