RYAN Sparks does not believe football’s blanket ban on social media this weekend is the most effective way of stamping out online abuse.

The Bantams will join the other 91 clubs in staying off Twitter, Facebook and Instagram from 3pm on Friday to 11.59 on Monday night.

Sparks agrees that a stand needs to be made against the escalating problem – but insists social media giants Twitter, Facebook and Instagram must put in place new rules.

City’s chief executive said: “We completely support the message that they are trying to send.

“However, telling people when you are going to do this is almost playing straight into the hands of the trolls – and there are millions of them.

“I’m not sure there is enough evidence that similar things to this have had any long-term lasting impact. I’m not a fan of stunts when it comes to serious matters like this.”

City’s online silence will coincide with the final home game of the season against Scunthorpe – when the club traditionally remember the victims of the Valley Parade fire beforehand.

Sparks stressed that will still go ahead without the coverage on their social media platforms.

“We will do everything we would always do,” he added.

“We’ll still be displaying the flag and paying our respects, as we do every season. Pandemic or no pandemic.

“Some could argue that by us joining this movement is far more meaningful than the 20 clubs in the Premier League. We are giving up something that our supporters may like to see across social media, because our annual memorial fixture means so much to our club.

Sparks insists the responsibility in cleaning up social media should rest with the companies themselves by introducing an identity system to make every user traceable and accountable.

“This is a very simple situation. The social media companies need to restart.

“If every person that has a social media account had to provide a passport number or even a national insurance one, I can assure you those who pipe up and hurl abuse would be very different.

“A lot of those who discriminate online and attack people via social media usually hide behind faceless accounts with anonymous usernames.

“Let’s see how many tough guys are on social media when everybody knows who they are.

“The big questions, for me, are facing all three platforms but Twitter is a particularly concerning platform - from my experience.

“I have seen people have accounts banned and just restart a new one the next day. It’s too easy.

“My fear with this is that there will be silence this weekend, and it’s great we are trying to make an impact, but there may be a further backlash come the lifting of this.

“We will always fight discrimination. If there was an incident in this stadium, the person involved would be banned for life.

“We’ve already done that in my time at the club and two people have been banned. I’m not sure this will make a difference long term but we will certainly support the effort in the hope it can be a start point.”

Fans can buy a virtual match ticket for Saturday which will donate £5 to the Bradford Plastic Surgery and Burns Research Unit.