Ex-England striker Gary Lineker, Countdown presenter Rachel Riley and London mayor Sadiq Khan are among a group of celebrities, politicians and campaigners who have pledged not to publicise the abuse they receive on social media from trolls.
They have been convinced by new research that suggests hate speech is being inadvertently spread through social media when insults, put-downs or worse are quoted or shared.
They will instead report the worst cases of abuse to police, while sending lesser examples to social media companies such as Twitter and Facebook to put pressure on them to act.
By refusing to respond, they believe it will starve trolls of a wider audience.
The move targets those using social media to spread racist, sexist, xenophobic and other hateful messaging through retweets and public shaming.
Match Of The Day presenter Lineker, with 7.4 million Twitter followers, says he is determined to “show online trolls the red card” after seeing the racist abuse directed at young black footballers.
Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham was targeted by racist comments after he missed a penalty in the European Super Cup
Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham, 21, said his mother was in tears after reading a torrent of racist comments targeted at him after he missed a decisive penalty in the European Super Cup against Liverpool last month.
Fellow England and Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford suffered a similar backlash after missing a spot kick against Crystal Palace in a league match this season.
Lineker said: “We’ve all been shocked by the way in which racist trolls have been targeting footballers recently.
“It is frankly horrifying that they have done so in a calculated way to spread their abhorrent views. Let’s not allow the beautiful game to be tarnished in this way.
“Everyone across the sporting world will be grateful for this guide on how we can show online trolls the red card. Don’t rise to the bait, block the trolls and take some time out.”
Rachel Riley has received antisemitic abuse
Jewish TV personality Riley, a former Strictly Come Dancing contestant, has been on the receiving end of antisemitic abuse.
She said the experience had “totally changed the way I interact on Twitter”.
“I now block trolls as common practice and have changed my settings to avoid seeing much of their output, which has made life much better from a mental health standpoint and, vitally, is not inadvertently helping to grow their audiences or feed their negativity.”
Sadiq Khan hits out at ‘callous’ Brexit movement proposals
Mr Khan, mayor of London, encouraged social media users to play their part in tackling online hate.
The former minister, who has Pakistani heritage, said: “I’ve seen first-hand the online hate when social media is hijacked by hateful and cynical users who usually hide behind anonymous accounts.
“All of us who use social media have tremendous power in what we give our attention to and how we react to social media conversations.
“By ignoring, muting or blocking the trolls we can deny them the reactions they seek, while government and social media companies must up their game to ensure it is a safe space for people to exchange ideas.”