Calls for social media giants to act after hateful football fan comments

Norwich City fans with their banner commemorating the 40th anniversary of Justin Fashanu's wonder go

Norwich City has been supporting LGBTQ+ History Month and Football v Homophobia. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City fans have rallied together to call out internet trolls stoking up anti-LGBTQ+ feeling. 

Canaries fan Zoe Morgan penned an article for the club's official website and matchday programme covering inclusion at Carrow Road as part of LGBTQ+ History Month and the Football v Homophobia project.

But a number of offensive remarks were posted online in response to the article by fans of other football clubs. 

Some of the hurtful comments were posted by faceless, anonymous accounts. 

Di Cunningham, founder of Norwich City supporters group Proud Canaries, said: "Social media companies should definitely do much more.

 Di Cunningham, founder of Proud Canaries

Di Cunningham, founder of Proud Canaries. - Credit: Di Cunningham

"We have the absurd situation where inadequately programmed bots and algorithms are banning people for no good reason at the same time as unidentifiable trolls are able to platform hatred and prejudice.

"And if and when the protection of anonymity is removed leagues and clubs need to be ready to deal with the haters claiming to be fans."

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She also pointed out one of the negative comments was from an Ipswich fan with four followers who has one like for the offensive tweet - from themselves.

Norwich City fan and Norwich Pride education lead Nick O'Brien agrees social media companies need to take more responsibility to authenticate accounts.

He tends to ignore the comments but believes the negativity can have a damaging impact on young people who are thinking of coming out.

Proud Canaries with their banner. Left to right: Jules Bremner, Di Cunningham, Nick O'Brien and Mich

Proud Canaries - part of the club's identity - Credit: Stevie Read

Mr O'Brien said: "The climate is more polarised now. There are more signs of support and fans feel confident but then there is also more of a backlash.

"If I was to carry a massive rainbow flag into the stadium I think some would be overtly positive and some would be overtly negative.

"That is the way of the world and those who are negative seem to also be against taking the knee." 

Norwich Pride education lead Nick O'Brien.

Norwich Pride education lead Nick O'Brien. - Credit: Archant

It is understood Norwich City is aware of the inappropriate comments online and is taking a proactive approach to block any harmful posts.

Norwich City dedicated its matchday programme for the recent game against Manchester City to both Football v Homophobia and LGBTQ+ history month.

It has also recognised LGBTQ+ History on its website, social media and video channels including adding rainbow colours.