Hamilton willing to join social media boycott during F1 Portuguese GP weekend

Reigning Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has called on social media companies to do more to combat racist abuse on their respective platforms.
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 in the post race FIA Press Conference.
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 in the post race FIA Press Conference.
© FIA Pool Image for Editorial Use

Last week, English football clubs and leagues announced they would be taking part in a social media blackout in a bid to raise awareness about racist abuse and discrimination online.

Other sports organisations such as England’s cricket board and Premiership Rugby will also take part in the boycott.

The social media blackout is set to take place from this Friday afternoon to Monday, May 3 at 23:59 BST.

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In recent years, Hamilton has been central to F1’s push for raising more awareness against racism and discrimination.

Earlier today, Mercedes announced its new partnership with the Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers UK - established to promote engineering in schools and increase diversity.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix, Hamilton expressed his support of the boycott of social media by football and the wider supporting community.

“I haven’t anything planned but I think it’s clear that racism continues to be an issue,” Hamilton said. “I think social media platforms do need to do more in order to comeback this. I’m fully supportive of the initiative.

“If me also doing it helps put pressure on those platforms to help fight against it, then for sure, I’m happy to do so.”

Hamilton spoke about his experiences on social media and questioned why F1 is not involved in the boycott.

“I was subject to abuse a long, long time ago, at a time when I was younger, I was reading social media, like many people do, trying to engage with people,” Hamilton added.

“There was a period of time I had to understand, you can’t read every comment that’s on there, and you can’t take it personally. If you let those things get to you, they can ruin your day. I took a period of time where I stepped back from it and generally don’t go searching for that stuff, for validation.

“I don’t think I need validation, I know I’ve got amazing support from many fans that follow me and I’m super grateful for the support I do get. I do believe that social media companies need to do more. There’s algorithms, they’re able to take steps in helping create a more anti-racist society.

“That’s what we’ve got to be pushing towards. I’m really proud to hear, I don’t know all the details, but I’m glad to hear there are so many organisations getting involved. I’m not sure why F1 is not a part of that. But I heard people like Sky are for example. As I said, I think I probably will follow and support this weekend.”

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