For the World Cup, FIFA launches a service to protect players against hate speech

At the start of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, FIFA and FIFPRO are committed to protecting players from online harassment and hate during the competition. The two players in international football have set up a moderation service to which players, coaches and any other professional participating in the competition can register. Thus, the accounts of the various social networks will be monitored in order to eliminate any toxic remarks towards the subscribers.

Protect mental health

Each hateful, discriminatory or insulting message will be reported to the platform concerned so that actions can be taken against their authors. The service will also hide the various insulting comments on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. These messages will then remain invisible to the account holder and his followers. A necessary service for “protect players from the harmful effects that social media posts can cause to their mental health and well-being”says FIFA President Gianni Infantino, in a press release. An opinion shared by David Aganzo, President of FIFPRO: “It is football’s responsibility to protect players and other affected groups from the abuses they increasingly face in and around their workplaces. This type of abuse has a profound impact on their personality, their family, their performance.”

Measures that come after the study conducted by the two institutions on virtual hatred during the last two international competitions: Euro 2021 and the African Cup of Nations 2022. Research has then shown that the number of insults received by professional football players on social networks is growing rapidly. Of all the hate messages analyzed, 40% were homophobic and 38% racist. Despite the anonymity of the Internet, FIFA and FIFPRO claim that 90% of accounts detected as toxic are identifiable or have a high probability of identification.

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