Lionel Messi has refused to celebrate reaching 200 million followers on Instagram.
Instead, the Barcelona captain has called for an end to online abuse amid pleas for social media companies to do more to prevent discrimination on their platforms.
In a passionate Instagram post, Messi wrote: “I see that I’ve just reached 200 million followers on Instagram, but given what is happening today, I’m not going to take it as a reason to celebrate.
“I think the time has come to give importance to the people behind each profile, to realise that behind each account there is a person of flesh and blood.
“We live together seeing and experiencing abuse, more of it and worse each time on each network, without anyone doing anything to stop it.
“I would like you, the 200 million people who follow me, to become 200 million motivations to make social media networks safe and respectful places.”
Premier League and EFL clubs and other sporting bodies are in the midst of a social media boycott, which started at 3pm on Friday and will end on Monday.
talkSPORT also decided to stay silent online during the May Bank Holiday.
Head of talkSPORT Lee Clayton said: “talkSPORT is proud to join the social media boycott to speak up for those who have suffered real and lasting abuse on social media.
“talkSPORT’s social media is an important part of our multimedia offering with 5.6m followers across our social platforms. But now is the time to stand with the football community against hate.
“Racism is of course a big part of this boycott. But it also spans sexism, hateful and hostile content, discrimination and general abuse too.
“As a station we are taking steps to protect our own presenters from abuse from social media trolls and this is an important statement that online hate will not be tolerated.”