Arsenal CEO Vinai Venkatesham ‘optimistic’ social media companies will tackle online abuse, but warns government must step in if they fail to address the issue adequately
- Arsenal launched its own campaign this week to increase awareness
- There is frustration that not enough has been done to address the problem
- The government has already participated in discussions with social media companies
Arsenal CEO Vinai Venkatesham believes government legislation will be the only answer if social media companies fail to produce solutions to online abuse.
Arsenal launched their own #StopOnlineAbuse campaign this week, further raising awareness of the issue, putting more pressure on social media companies to take action and highlighting the growing and widespread frustrations that not enough has been done to address the issue .
Venkatesham said, “If the social media companies cannot demonstrate that they are doing enough in this space and cannot provide enough positive answers, it will eventually end up with legislation and the government.”
Arsenal players have been in talks about boycotting social media in the fight to stop online abuse
The government has already participated in ongoing discussions with social media companies on this issue.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden this week reiterated the government’s plans to speed up online harm legislation, which could result in hefty fines for social media companies for failing to remove content that would be ‘illegal’ on the street.
Venkatesham said: ‘This is not something that can be solved by Arsenal or solved by football.
‘It’s about trying to get all those stakeholders around the table to bring about positive change. I’m one of life’s natural optimists, and I’ve seen more strides forward from social media companies in recent months.
Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah is one of the players to be abused on social media this season
‘We have been in contact with a number of social media companies since the live campaign and say they want to talk to us, which is a good thing. There are signs of optimism. I’ll hold them and those green shoots. Hopefully we can make some progress in the coming months. ‘
Arsenal’s stars were among the targets and the problem and the lack of sweeping action has driven Thierry Henry from social media.
Meanwhile, an Irish teenager escaped conviction in February after posting racist abuse on Instagram by another Arsenal legend, Ian Wright.
Venkatesham said, ‘We’re in 2021 and someone like Ian Wright says this is actually going to be normalized. It really made me sit up and think about it.
Due to the boycott of Arsenal, the women’s side would also come from sites like Twitter and Instagram
‘Hundreds of people at the club and all 20 clubs in the Premier League, I think they are getting to the point where just enough is enough.
‘I’m afraid if this kind of abuse is normalized on social media, where else can it be normalized?
‘We know where we are [football] in the past, so in terms of normalization, I’m so excited to find a way to eradicate it and get it back under control.
‘We need to do something about this and I will not be proud if we talk about this issue in two years’ time.
‘There are many positive points [to social media] but unfortunately there is a very dark, terribly disturbing and disturbing part and I feel we must do everything we can to eradicate it. ‘
Arsenal CEO Vinai Venkatesham wants social media companies to tackle online abuse