Sky Sports has announced a set of new measures to combat online abuse and hate across its platforms, effective immediately.
It comes as the group said it has seen a “spike” in hateful comments on the basis of race, colour, gender, nationality, ethnicity, disability, religion, sexuality, age and class across its social media platforms and channels.
As part of the new measures, Sky Sports will “use the power of its reach and voice to highlight the scale of online hate and abuse and the damage that it can inflict upon people”.
It has also pledged to remove abusive and hateful comments posted on skysports.com and its channels on social media platforms, while blocking users that “bring hate” to its comments sections on our website and channels on social media platforms.
In addition, it will report hate and abuse to the social media platforms, report the most serious cases to the relevant authorities and “strive to make our channels respectful places where sporting conversations thrive”.
Sky Sports has also pledged to “keep commissioning journalism that shines a light on social injustices and inequality in sport”. While working with social media platforms and policymakers to “make their platforms safer and more respectful”.
Director of Sky Sports News and 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.”
He added: “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 skysports.com free from abuse, and will strive to make our channels on social media a safer space for all sports fans.”
Sky Sports analyst Micah Richards added: “I have been a victim of racial abuse online as have so many others. It is – of course – horrible to receive and the negative impact such comments have can outweigh all the positive aspects of social media.
“These commitments are a positive step as large publishers like Sky Sports need to use their voice to address some of these issues, help educate and ultimately eradicate all forms of online abuse.”