Social Media Tools

Social Media Platforms – Tools to address abuse / discrimination

The Football Association has been engaging with social media organisations for a number of years to try and address the issues of online abuse and discrimination. This impacts all parts of football from players to administrators, from referees to coaches/managers and is not isolated to any one part of the football pyramid. Sadly, this is an issue that impacts many of those in our game and we are committed to continuing to use our voice and influence to address this problem.

We recognise that a multi-pronged approach is needed and we are doing everything that we can to ensure that social media organisations are effectively protecting all users. We are also simultaneously working with government to ensure that relevant and effective legislation is enacted quickly to hold social media organisations to account. Through our discussions with social media platforms, they are sharing information on products and tools to address elements of the challenges we currently see online.

Social media platforms are a key mechanism of modern communication for many people and we know that they are great way to interact. However, just like in the offline world, there will always be those who try to abuse others online.


Instagram has rolled out two new tools to protect people who may be subject to abuse, either in comments or Direct Messages (DMs). Activating these tools will help reduce the chances of seeing negative or hurtful comments and make the experience of using Instagram a more positive one.

Hidden Words

The first tool is Hidden Words – when turned on, this will automatically filter offensive words, phrases and emojis, so they do not have to be viewed. This tool focuses on DM requests, because this is where people usually receive abusive messages. It will work in a similar way to the comment filters already on offer, which allow people to hide offensive comments and choose what terms they don’t want people to use in comments under posts they may. Both comment and DM request filters can be turned on and off in a new dedicated section of Privacy Settings called Hidden Words.


The second tool is Limits – designed to help protect people when they experience or anticipate a rush of abusive comments and DMs. It’s easy to turn on, and will automatically hide comments and DM requests from people who don’t follow an account, or who only recently followed an account. Instagram developed this feature because they heard that sometimes people experience sudden spikes of comments and DM requests from people they don’t know. In many cases this is an outpouring of support — like if they score a winning goal. But sometimes it can also mean an influx of unwanted comments or messages. In these instances, you can turn on Limits and avoid this type of interaction.


Twitter has rolled out tools that we feel it’s important to make you aware of to help protect you online. Please see the two short videos attached which guide you through the process of activating these tools on your Twitter profile.

Hidden Replies

Mute Block Report

We hope that these features help ensure your experience on social media platforms is a more positive one and that the football community can be brought together in the right way this season.