'Let's use this amazing technology for good': Thierry Henry joins forces with PUMA to front a new campaign to tackle online hate and protect social media users from 'faceless and cowardly' trolls

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Thierry Henry has launched a new campaign to combat online hate, as the Arsenal and France legend steps up his crusade to protect users against 'faceless and cowardly' trolls.

Henry has been a leading figure in protests against social media companies, who are accused of not doing enough to stem tide of hate, and those who use their platforms to target others with racism and abuse.

The former striker deactivated all of his social media accounts in March and was a vocal supporter of a boycott of online platforms by British sports the following month.

Thierry Henry is leading a new campaign with PUMA to tackle online hate and racist abuse. The campaign will be hosted on a social action platform, Game of Our Lives, launched today

Thierry Henry is leading a new campaign with PUMA to tackle online hate and racist abuse. The campaign will be hosted on a social action platform, Game of Our Lives, launched today

Thierry Henry is leading a new campaign with PUMA to tackle online hate and racist abuse. The campaign will be hosted on a social action platform, Game of Our Lives, launched today

PUMA's campaign, 'Highlight the Hate, Action the Love', is hosted on a new online platform

PUMA's campaign, 'Highlight the Hate, Action the Love', is hosted on a new online platform

Now, the ex-player turned pundit, has joined forces with PUMA, and will lead the sports brand's campaign to tackle hate using a new online platform, called Game of Our Lives, which was launched in Lisbon today at a Web summit.

'Tackling online hate is something I feel very passionate about,' said Henry. 'We have amazing technology at our disposal, and we should be using them for good.

'It is up to us to ensure this is the case and to protect the next generation from this faceless and cowardly way of spreading online hate.'

Football has taken a robust stance on online abuse with all of the sport's authorities joining forces in England, including the anti-racism organisation Kick It Out, to lobby social media platforms to take more accountability for the issue.

The problem of online hate in sport, particularly football, has become overwhelming in recent years, with a sharp spike in abusive comments aimed at players during the coronavirus pandemic, when fans were shut out of matches.

Wilfried Zaha was subjected to racist abuse following Crystal Palace's win over Man City

Wilfried Zaha was subjected to racist abuse following Crystal Palace's win over Man City 

Zaha shared screenshots of some of the offensive messages

The messages appeared to be received privately on Instagram

Zaha shared screenshots of some of the offensive messages, received privately on Instagram, as he called on social media companies to do more to combat the problem

Another example of the abusive messages

Zaha demanded more action from social media companies

Zaha demanded more action from social media companies (right) to combat racist abuse

The trend has continued as supporters have returned to stadiums this season, with Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha the latest to report disgusting, racist comments sent to him via Instagram.

The Palace favourite, 28, posted a series of screengrabs in which he was called a 'n*****', a 'monkey' and a 'chimp' in private messages sent to him on Instagram following the Eagles' stunning 2-0 victory over Manchester City at the Etihad on Saturday.

Zaha scored Palace's opening goal - his 50th in the Premier League - as they claimed an unexpected win and he was hauled down by City's Aymeric Laporte, who was subsequently sent off.

Yesterday, Sportsmail reported that the nine-month-old daughter of India cricket captain, Virat Kohli, and Bollywood actor, Anushka Sharma, had been threatened with rape in vile online posts. The sickening abuse followed poor performances by the Indian team in the T20 World Cup, including defeat to arch rivals Pakistan.

The treatment of Kohli, footballers and other sports men and women has highlighted the wider issue of online abuse and the inadequate controls social media firms have put in place to prevent it and deal with it.

Zaha celebrates after scoring Crystal Palace's opening goal at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday

Zaha celebrates after scoring Crystal Palace's opening goal at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday

The baby daughter of India cricket captain Virat Kohli and Bollywood actor Anushka Sharma has been the subject of rape threats online after the country's cricketers lost to Pakistan

The baby daughter of India cricket captain Virat Kohli and Bollywood actor Anushka Sharma has been the subject of rape threats online after the country's cricketers lost to Pakistan

The PUMA campaign, entitled Highlight the Hate, Action the Love, will 'push decision makers for a safer, more responsible, and accountable system, specifically focusing on social media organisations and the users'.

Fans are invited to sign up in support of Henry and the campaign and they will be given actions to undertake in a bid to bring pressure to bear on social media companies. The aim is to create a movement of people social media companies - and trolls - cannot ignore.

The website highlights social issues, including online hate, but also equality, environmental challenges and poverty reduction, among others, and invites users to sign up and take action.

Each theme is championed by a social activist or well-known ambassador. Ultimately there will be more than 30 themes.

The idea is to encourage people worldwide to join forces to tackle world problems.

The platform is the brainchild of tech entrepreneur Dylan Ingham and social activist, Juergen Griesbeck, who previously has used football as a force for change.

They say they are 'on a mission to activate one billion humans [to give] one per cent of their time towards people and the planet by 2030'.

Former Arsenal striker, Henry,  described English football's social media boycott earlier this year as his 'happiest moment' after he had abandoned social media in protest at abuse

Former Arsenal striker, Henry,  described English football's social media boycott earlier this year as his 'happiest moment' after he had abandoned social media in protest at abuse

'To start to make a difference it only takes one person to speak out against the many social and environmental issues we are facing, but imagine the impact thousands, millions or even billions of people can make?' said Ingham.

'The sole purpose of Game of Our Lives is to provide a safe pathway for people to channel their apathy or anger towards these subjects and take action with purpose. To act upon the global issues, we all have a responsibility to resolve.'

Adam Petrick, PUMA's Global Director Brand Marketing added: 'PUMA is thrilled to join up with Game of Our Lives social action platform and take our social agenda to the next level. Kicking this off by supporting Thierry could not be more appropriate as online bullying continues to be one of the key issues within our community and the wider society at large.'

*For more information on Game of Our Lives visit www.gameofourlives.org

*To Join PUMA and Thierry Henry's Highlight the Hate, Action the Love Game of Our Lives team visit www.gameofourliv.es/Thierry

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