Zurich [Switzerland], June 19 (ANI): FIFA has published an independent report to coincide with the United Nations International Day for Countering Hate Speech on Saturday, highlighting the increasing degree of abuse directed at footballers across social media platforms during international tournaments.
With FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 beginning in five months' time, FIFA will work with FIFPRO - the worldwide representative organisation for professional footballers - to coordinate and implement a plan on how to protect participating teams, players, officials, and supporters from abuse on social media during its international tournaments.
The newly-released report, which used artificial intelligence to track over 400,000 posts on social media platforms during the semi-finals and finals stage of two international competitions (UEFA EURO 2020 and African Cup of Nations 2021), has identified that over 50% of players received some form of discriminatory abuse, with much of that abuse coming from the players' home nation.
Homophobic (40%) and racist (38%) comments provided the majority of the abuse, much of which remains published to the accounts in which it was originally directed.
In response, FIFA and FIFPRO will launch a dedicated in-tournament moderation service across men's and women's football that will scan recognised hate speech terms published to identified social media accounts, and once detected, prevent that comment from being seen by the recipient and their followers.
Although the offending message remains visible to the person who originally made the comment, its visibility and reach will be significantly reduced.
The report also highlights that 90% of accounts flagged by the study as having published these abusive comments have a high probability of identification, and as hidden comments will remain privately visible to FIFA and FIFPRO - it also means that such account activity could be escalated to the relevant social platform(s) and law enforcement authorities so further action could be taken. (ANI)