BARCELONA, Spain -- Lionel Messi used his social media platform with 200 million followers to call for action against online abuse on Saturday.
The Barcelona forward's message coincides with a four-day boycott of social media by soccer leagues, clubs and players in England to protest against online racial abuse and discrimination.
Messi was not silent. Instead, he used his Instagram post to "send a big hug and congratulations to all the people in British soccer for the idea to hold this campaign against abuse and discrimination on social media."
Messi asked for his followers to "give importance to the PEOPLE that are behind each profile, so that we all realize that behind each account is a person in flesh and blood, who laughs, cries, enjoys life and suffers."
He went further and asked for Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies to do more.
"Nobody deserves to be insulted," Messi wrote in Spanish. "We are seeing, and living with, abuse that is growing and becoming worse on social media and nobody is doing anything to stop it. We must strongly condemn these hostile attitudes and demand that the companies that run these networks take action against this behaviour."