Online Abuse Targeting Players at Women’s World Cup

In a concerning development, the recent 2023 Women’s World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand saw one in five players targeted by online abuse, according to data published by FIFA. The study found that 152 out of the 697 players whose social media accounts were monitored received discriminatory, abusive, or threatening messages during the tournament.

The analysis revealed that homophobic, sexist, and sexualized content accounted for more than half of the abusive posts identified by FIFA’s social media protection service (SMPS). Furthermore, players at the Women’s World Cup were 29% more likely to be subjected to online abuse compared to those who participated in the 2022 men’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

“there is no place on social media for those who abuse or threaten anyone.” – Gianni Infantino, FIFA President

To address this issue, players were given the option to opt-in to the SMPS moderation service, which can intercept and hide abusive messages. The service scanned over 5 million social media posts, with 102,511 flagged for human review. Of those, 7,085 were verified as discriminatory, abusive, or threatening and subsequently reported to the respective platforms.

The data revealed that United States and Argentina players received the highest volume of abuse, with 637 verified instances of abuse linked to the final between England and Spain. Spikes in abusive posts were also linked to news about the absence of members of Britain’s royal family at the match and a good luck message from the UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak.

FIFA reported the verified instances of abuse to social media platforms, but the response from the platforms was described as “sporadic.” This issue of online abuse targeting female footballers remains a significant concern for the sport’s governing body, as they continue to work with social media platforms and law enforcement to address this problem and protect the mental well-being of players.

๐Ÿ”— Source