Former French star Thierry Henry said in Lisbon on Tuesday that he plans to tackle online harassment and lobby social media companies in alliance with an NGO and its sponsor Puma.
“We need help,” Henry said at the Web Summit technical conference in Lisbon. “We have all been affected by this.”
In March, Henry, currently an assistant coach of the Belgian national team, closed his social media accounts.
“Me as an individual, I’m fine without it,” he said, as he announced the campaign with sportswear maker Puma and the Game of Our Lives foundation.
“We need help from people in higher positions,” he added, saying he wanted social media companies to be held accountable. “We need to come together to make sure that maybe these people will legislate a law that will make these platforms more accountable.”
“I don’t think they are doing anything close to what is necessary to make us feel safe,” he added. “They aren’t really trying to change anything.”
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In April, predominantly English football clubs, players, sports organizations, as well as Britain’s Prince William, staged a three-day social media boycott aimed at tackling online abuse, including the racism.
Despite the action and Henry’s removal from social media, Puma chief marketing officer Adam Petrick, alongside former World Cup winner, said his company was not considering the same strategy.
“Boycott is not a likely option for us,” he said. “The platforms need to be our partners to have a meaningful conversation about taking specific action. Some of them are making progress … but not all and not enough.”
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