Thierry Henry: why did footballer quit Instagram and Twitter - and what did he say on GMB?

Thierry Henry criticised social media companies for caring more about copyright claims than racist abuse

Thierry Henry, who was recently manager of Montreal Impact, explained his reasons for stepping away from social media on GMB (Getty Images)

Thierry Henry has explained his reasons for stepping away from social media.

Speaking to ITV’s Good Morning Britain the former Arsenal striker claimed that social media giants weren’t doing enough to combat racism.

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The Frenchman suggested that forms of identification should be used to verify new users of platforms such as Twitter and Instagram.

He argued that Twitter is “not a safe place” due to rampant abuse.

What did Thierry Henry say?

Speaking to Susanna Reid and Ben Shepherd, Thierry Henry said that, while it was difficult to police abusive behaviour online, more could be done to prevent targeted harassment.

He said: “It is very difficult, I know, to eradicate everything, but can it be safer?

"We all know that it’s a great tool, that a lot of people are using as a weapon, why? Because they can hide behind fake accounts.

He suggested verifying accounts with an identification number in order to reduce racist abuse.

He said: "All the time what I see is that they [social media companies] deleted accounts. But you delete the accounts, some people can reopen it, new IP address, only thing you need is an email and a number.

"Why can’t it be an NHS number, or a National Insurance number?”

He added: “If you know that you’re going to get found out and that people are going to know you’re always going to think twice before you say something.

He criticised social media companies for being stricter with their action over copyright strikes.

He said: “I go back to copyright and video, they don’t even allow you to send it, you can’t even send it sometimes.”

What did he say in his statement?

In a statement posted on Twitter and Instagram on Friday, Henry said: “Hi Guys. From tomorrow morning I will be removing myself from social media until the people in power are able to regulate their platforms with the same vigour and ferocity that they currently do when you infringe copyright.

“The sheer volume of racism, bullying and resulting mental torture to individuals is too toxic to ignore. There has to be some accountability.

“It is far too easy to create an account, use it to bully and harass without consequence and still remain anonymous. Until this changes, I will be disabling my accounts across all social platforms. I’m hoping this happens soon.”

What did Susanna Reid say?

Susanna Reid concurred with Henry during Good Morning Britain on Monday morning.

She told the World Cup winner: “I think it’s appalling that individuals should have to take the choice to remove themselves from social media - no one should have to remove themselves because of what they’re seeing or because they describe this mental torture.

Nobody should be subjected to the abuse that there is on social media. There needs to be far greater action.

How come bullying and abuse is allowed to be sent? I think it’s an appalling indictment on social media companies that you’ve had to take this action.”