In 2015, a BBC Sport survey found that one in six elite sportswomen had experienced some sort of abuse on social media. By 2020, this figure had doubled to almost one in three. And with the corporation’s sports following across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at more than 33 million users worldwide, the bigwigs at New Broadcasting House have announced that enough is enough.

The following statement is being posted on all BBC Sport’s social media channels today, 10th August 2020:

To all BBC Sport social media followers.

The BBC exists for all of us, so it should represent all of us.

That means BBC Sport covers a wide range of sports and stories.

But, as we do that, our comments sections on social media can often attract hateful messages.

We want our platforms to be a respectful place for discussion, constructive criticism, debate and opinion.

We know the vast majority of you – our 33 million social media followers – want that too.

So here’s what we’re doing:

  • We will block people bringing hate to our comments sections;
  • We will report the most serious cases to the relevant authorities;
  • We will work to make our accounts kind and respectful places;
  • We will keep growing our coverage of women’s sports, and keep covering issues and discussions around equality in sport.

We also want your help.

If you see a reply to BBC Sport posts with an expression of hate on the basis of race, colour, gender, nationality, ethnicity, disability, religion, sexuality, sex, age or class please flag the URL to the post in question by emailing socialmoderation.sport@bbc.co.uk

Hate won’t stop us in our goal of representing all of us.

Together we will strive to make our social media accounts a safe space for everyone.

Trolling, hate speech and online bullying is a major issue for global social media giants, with many people claiming that Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, are dragging their heels in taking steps to counter what is turning their platforms into repositories for misogyny, racism and homophobia. 

Let us now hope that they can take their lead from the world’s oldest and largest broadcasting organisation and drain the poison from their increasingly toxic platforms.

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