Gary Lineker, the host of Match of the Day, has stated that he is using Twitter less frequently due to the platform’s increasing toxicity. Lineker has faced criticism in recent years for expressing his political views on topics such as the government’s policy on Rwanda. This sparked a discussion about impartiality rules and the social media behaviour of BBC presenters.
Lineker is now trying to distance himself from the more hostile aspects of Twitter, stating that nuanced conversations are no longer possible on the platform. He also mentioned that changes made since Elon Musk took over Twitter, particularly regarding blue ticks and users’ feeds, have exposed him to more negative content.
Twitter recently introduced a “For You” feed, which curates topics it believes the user is interested in. Previously, Lineker would only read tweets from blue tick holders or people he followed. However, since Twitter started allowing anyone to purchase blue ticks, he has been unable to avoid the platform’s vitriolic side.
Last year, new guidelines were issued for BBC flagship presenters after controversy over Lineker’s tweets. The guidelines, reviewed by former ITN boss John Hardie, permit presenters to express views on issues and policies but prohibit political campaigning. Lineker believes these guidelines offer more freedom to tweet and maintains that he tweets sensibly and within the guidelines.
Despite his issues with Twitter, Lineker has no plans to delete his account as he finds it a useful platform for promoting BBC shows and his podcasts. He also praised the new BBC guidelines and revealed that he was involved in their creation through interviews with John Hardie.
Lineker was asked about his future with Match of the Day and stated that it was too early to contemplate as he still has almost two years left on his contract. He also expressed his love for working with the BBC and his satisfaction with his career so far.
At the event, Lineker also discussed his company Goalhanger Podcasts, which produces popular series such as The Rest is Politics, The Rest is History, and The Rest is Entertainment. He stated that he would not accept advertisements related to fossil fuels or gambling on The Rest is Football, another podcast in the series, due to concerns about how gambling companies target young people.