Elton John calls for a social media boycott to beat homophobic hate speech

The singer says tech firms have a “responsibility ” to tackle it

Elton John has called for a social media boycott to tackle homophobic hate speech on popular social media sites and apps.

In an interview with BBC Newsnight ahead of delivering the ‘Diana, Princess of Wales Lecture on HIV’ in London, Elton John argued that media firms have a “responsibility” to deal with the abuse on their sites.

He added: “I don’t know why they [social media firms] allow it,

“It’s supposed to be free speech but the things that are on social media are so disgusting that there has to be action taken by the people who own and run these companies, and say, ‘Enough’s enough, we’re spreading hate’.

“‘People say, ‘Well what about my freedom of speech?’ Sod your freedom of speech.”

The 71-year-out music legend then suggested that users boycott social media sites, saying: “Why not? Then they’ll sit up. When the money is not coming in they’ll sit up.”

He went on to add that social media giants needed to “clean house” and become more of a “moral thinking compass for what’s going on in the world.”

The singer added that sites like Facebook and Instagram had a “public role and responsibility.”

He said: “Imagine if they put their mic behind debates that could counter ignorance. Homophobia fuels shame, isolation, cruelty and anger, and therefore HIV.

“But if we found ways to automatically respond to hatred with fact, good could be all the way around the world before falsehood even got its boots on.”

Recently, the singer spoke out in support of the Irish abortion referendum, during a visit to Ukraine, where he was raising awareness of HIV.

Meanwhile, the forthcoming Elton John movie Rocketman, starring Eddie The Eagle actor Taron Egerton, has been given a release date and is set to hit our screens in May 2019.