Livingston captain Marvin Bartley has warned that social media abuse could result in someone taking their own life unless action is taken quickly.
Bartley, who also works as an equality adviser for the Scottish FA, says he ‘has had enough’ of waiting for social media companies to act.
Bartley believes social media abuse is getting worse “day by day” and praised this weekend’s social media boycott, which will see the wider sports community, including Sky Sports, post zero sports content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and Tik Tok from 3 p.m. on Friday, April 30 to 11.59 p.m. on Monday, May 3.
“What will happen is someone will be abused racially or about their sexuality and eventually kill themselves,” Bartley said.
“So you know what’s going to happen? They [social media companies] will come out and say: “This is enough now”.
“Why do we have to wait for this to happen? Do something now because it is not acceptable.
“I don’t care about the flashback I get from it because I’ve had enough.”
Bartley revealed he was recently racially abused by a user with 3,000 followers and the account was reported to Instagram.
“Just over a week ago, someone commented on two posts Livingston had posted to Instagram some time ago,” he said. “Someone had decided to come back through them and racially abuse me.
“If I’m honest I expected it. With the role I now play with the Scottish FA and my stance on racism, I’ve been at the forefront.
“Now people don’t even make fake profiles anymore, I think [this account] had 3000 subscribers, so it wasn’t something that just happened overnight.
“The club reported it and Instagram came back and said it wasn’t violating their code of conduct. It lets you know where we’re at. How can Instagram sit there and say, ‘It’s all right. good. “How lucky are we?
“What bothers me the most is these social media companies are sitting in their desks and saying it’s okay. They don’t do anything about it.
“There must be people in the hierarchy of color, different religions, different sexualities and everything. How must they feel about going to work knowing your bosses don’t care.
“They didn’t come out and said nothing. Nothing at all.”
Sky Sports News has reached out to Instagram for comment.
Commenting on this weekend’s social media boycott, Bartley said: “I support anything that tries to make a difference, with all the issues people face on social media.
“It was tough. Especially in the last six months, it got worse by the day.
“Seeing the football family, as well as the sponsors, sticking together and trying to make a change, we’ve all had enough.”
Bartley called on social media companies to introduce verification options on their platforms, giving users the ability to stop unverified accounts from commenting on their posts.
Asked what he would say to social media companies, Bartley replied, “I would ask, ‘Why are you allowing this?’ Because they allow it to happen.
“Second, I would say, ‘Why can’t people be verified? “You can have a green check mark for those uploading their passport or whatever links the account to them, which gives me the option to say,” If you’re not verified I don’t want you to comment on my post . “”
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