Lionel Messi condemns online abuse, crosses 200 million Instagram followers

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Football superstar, Lionel Messi, has reached 200 million followers on Instagram, making him only the second person to reach the milestone in the platform’s history.

However, the Barcelona skipper used the opportunity to condemn online abuse, telling his followers and supporters that behind every profile was “flesh and blood”.

The record-holder of the Ballon d’Or appreciated his fans for the rare milestone but said that his latest online achievement was no cause for celebration.

He said, “I see that I have just reached the 200 million people who follow me on this network. However, because of what is happening today, I am not going to take it as a reason for celebration.”

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The Argentine forward was referring to organisations in the United Kingdom, who since Friday afternoon had staged a social media boycott to protest online abuse.

“Of course I appreciate all the love and support that I always receive from you, but I think the time has come to give importance to all the people behind each profile, that we realise that behind each account there is a person flesh and blood, who laughs, cries, enjoys and suffers, human beings with feelings,” he added.

The four-time UEFA Champions League winner enjoined his 200 million followers to be good ambassadors of humanity on their social media pages to make the online space a safer environment for people.