Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton is open to joining a three-day boycott of social media this weekend aimed at making a stand against discriminatory abuse online.
Teams, players and the governing bodies of English football agreed last week to boycott social media from 3pm on Friday April 30 until 11:59pm on Monday May 3.
European soccer governing body UEFA said it would also join this weekend’s action, along with tennis, cricket, rugby and cycling at national level.
Hamilton agrees that social media platforms should be doing more to combat racial abuse online and said he will join the boycott if it helps to bring about change.
“I haven’t anything planned but I think it’s clear that racism continues to be an issue,” Hamilton said ahead of this weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix. “I think social media platforms do need to do more in order to combat 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.”
Asked if he had received abuse online, Hamilton added: “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.
“There was a period of time that I had to understand that 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 [Sports] are for example. As I said, I think I probably will follow and support this weekend.”
McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo said he was also weighing up whether to join the boycott.
“Certainly considering it,” he said. “If it helps like all things to raise awareness and spread the message or put it out there, and hold some with a little bit more accountability for sure. That is important.
“It is like when you grow up, if you do not have something nice to say, then don’t say it at all. Sometimes it can be that simple.
“Certainly under consideration and if we feel it is going to help and have a positive effect then we will do so.”