ITF joins social media boycott

ITF will boycott social media this weekend to support efforts to stop social media abuse

Gael Monfils baseline dance won him fans but left his opponent and umpire bemused

The International Tennis Federation and International Tennis Integrity Agency are set to join in with other sports and boycott social media boycott this weekend.

“Tennis players, coaches and officials all over the world receive abusive messages through social media on a daily basis – and this is on the rise – referring to their race, their gender, their looks and their ability,” the ITF said in a press release.

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“Many contain vile and even death threats. We are working hard to do our part to advise and protect those in our sport, worldwide.”

The global tennis bodies urged social media companies to step up and support efforts to stop social media abuse.

“Time and again we see the devastating impact that online abuse, threats and discriminatory language has on professional athletes, coaches and officials, not only in tennis but across sport,” ITF President, David Haggerty said.

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“The level of abuse individuals are forced to endure is completely unacceptable, which is why we are joining this boycott and calling on social media companies to act now to protect individuals who are merely doing their jobs.”

ITIA CEO, Jonny Gray added, “We see significant numbers of messages from disgruntled gamblers, corruptors and others that get sent to players and they are shocking. Many contain death threats that cause real distress and long-term harm.

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“Alongside our colleagues in the sport, we do our best to support and advise those who receive these messages, but social media companies could and should do more.

“They have a responsibility to their users to ensure that their platforms are not used as a tool to abuse or threaten anyone in tennis – or indeed, any sport.”

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The social media boycott will take place from 15:00 BST on Friday 30 April to 23:59 BST on Monday 3 May.

Last year, French player Gael Monfils had opened up about the racist abuse he copped on social media. One of the messages had a fan calling him ‘stupid black monkey’ and ‘slave.’

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