British Dressage backs social media boycott this weekend

  • Written By: British Dressage
  • Published: Fri, 30 Apr 2021 13:19

British Dressage will be joining other governing bodies in the sporting community for a social media blackout from 3.00pm today, Friday 30 April, through to midnight on Monday 3 May, in support of the campaign against online abuse.

During this period there will be no posts on our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages, although other digital communications will continue as normal, including the BD website.

BD does not tolerate discrimination or abuse in any form and we have a members’ Code of Conduct and Social Media Policy in place to support this zero tolerance approach.  We therefore fully support the call for social media providers to do more to prevent such activity, by making users accountable for their actions and eradicating online abuse from their platforms.

In conjunction with British Equestrian and our partners at UK Sport, Sport England and the Sport and Recreation Alliance, we will continue to put pressure on the government to ensure that the Online Safety Bill provides appropriate regulatory and supervisory powers to Ofcom in order to tackle this issue effectively.

Jason Brautigam, Chief Executive of British Dressage, commented: “Whether you are a grass roots competitor or an elite athlete, an official, organiser, or member of staff, no one should have to suffer online abuse.  Everyone has the right to be treated with kindness, courtesy and respect at all times – discrimination, harassment and hatred have no place in our sport.  We all have a part to play in improving the social media environment, and members can help us by reporting any abuse they may have witnessed or been subjected to, so we may take the appropriate action.”

“Most importantly, we need individuals to be held to account, so they cannot continue posting negative or abusive comments with impunity.  By making this stand and drawing attention to this issue, we hope that the government and social media providers will take steps to put the necessary safeguards and measures in place to protect all sports people, no matter what level they participate at, to ensure that we can all enjoy interacting in a more positive way online.”

While BD is in full support of the boycott, we recognise that it is a busy weekend for our sport with our Regionals and Area Festivals about to get underway.  Some of our venues rely on social media operationally for key messaging and communication around competition activity.  Therefore those channels will continue to be used to convey essential information to members, as required, although we encourage all stakeholders not to post promotional messages or advertising on their social media feeds during the blackout period.