UK sport boycott of social platforms — protest or harbinger of change?

GlobalDrum
2 min readMay 11, 2021

The recent May Day public holiday 4-day social boycott led by sport in the UK was not the first by brands seeking to persuade social platforms to protect their communities better. In common with earlier ad-based boycotts, the perennial issues are audience authentication and moderation.

It’s inconceivable that social platforms don’t want to protect brand communities and individuals too, but they have inherited the unintended consequences of signing up unauthenticated mass audiences, to maximise impressions, supporting a dependency on ad revenues that was up to 98% of revenues in 2020.

The realities are that social platforms were attempting to moderate up to 54K posts, and 8hrs of video per second in 2020 with an growing moderation tsunami. Twitter reported that whilst 0.05% of the UK’s 11m football tweets this season were removed proactively, 10% were not. AI isn’t going to solve content validation and moderation alone, and the genie is out of the bottle for today’s social platforms to retrospectively authenticate audiences.

The evolution of social media is being driven currently by escalating regulation, privacy, and trust. The more progressive brands explore how to safeguard and monetise community audiences they have built and sustain, but are owned by social platforms, who generated an avg. ARPU of up to $32 in 2020.

The solutions are for social platforms to collaborate with brands, and adopt distributed content validation and moderation to those who know their communities best, funded by revenue-sharing.

The most progressive brands brands however will coexist and collaborate as social entities in their own right, owning the conversation with their most engaged authenticated audiences for themselves, exposing real-time first-party data to drive diversified business models on demand, for themselves, where precision competes effectively with mass market reach.

If sport is not to allow another boycott to blow over, then community owners need to be the harbinger of change, where protecting communities and individuals is combined with monetising them, and we do not become accustomed to a level of online abuse, as the cost of doing business.

GlobalDrum empowers brands to take back ownership of the conversation with their most engaged audiences.

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GlobalDrum

Empowering brands to take back ownership of the conversation with their most valued audiences