Sky Sports announces measures to tackle online abuse

02 Oct 2020

By: Sport Industry Group

Sky Sports has announced a set of new measures in its attempt to combat online abuse across its digital platforms.

The broadcaster says the measures will come into effect immediately and cover the 40 million users who engage with its digital and social media channels across Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. 

Sky says these channels have seen a spike in hateful comments on the basis of race, colour, gender, nationality, ethnicity, disability, religion, sexuality, age and class, and has now put in place a series of countermeasures against such behaviours.

The broadcaster says it has committed to using its platform to ‘highlight the scale of online hate… and the damage that it can inflict upon people’. As a result, it will remove as many abusive comments on its website and social posts as it can, as well as blocking users to bring abuse to the comment section, as well as reporting it to social media platforms and, in the ‘most serious cases, to the relevant authorities.

Some of Sky's on-air talent have has released a video (above) detailing some of the online abuse they themselves have suffered.

Director of Sky Sports News & Digital Publishing Mark Alford said: “We're proud to talk about sport with more than 40 million users of Sky Sports social and digital platforms across the world. We love to see the passion for sport when we engage with sports fans discussing and debating subjects that mean so much to them.

“Unfortunately, there is a small minority who use digital platforms to post hate, abuse and profanity against our content and our people. This needs to stop. We would like the major social media companies to do more to stop harmful content on their platforms. They have the best tools and visibility to act against abusive or hateful comments and owe a duty of care to their users. The onus should be on the social media platforms to behave like responsible publishers.

“We commit to making free from abuse, and will strive to make our channels on social media a safer space for all sports fans.”

Sky has also said that it will commit to ‘commissioning journalism that shines a light on social injustices and inequality in sport’, as well as pledging to work with social media platforms to make them safer.

In a statement, Facebook said: “We do not want hate speech on our platforms and we invest heavily in people and proactive technology to find and remove it. We have also introduced features to give people more control over their experience, including a setting for public figures to prevent people they do not know from sending them a message. We know there is more to do and we look forward to working with Sky – and others – to tackle this issue.”