Fifa report reveals almost 20,000 abusive posts during World Cup
A recent Fifa report has left football fans dismayed after revealing that nearly 20,000 social media posts aimed at players and officials were abusive in nature. The study scanned over 20 million online comments using the latest moderation software developed by Fifpro and Fifa.
Abuse peaked following England’s quarter-final loss to France
The researchers discovered that a staggering number of these messages – around 286,895 – had been hidden from public view. Worryingly, the highest volume of abuse was recorded just after England’s defeat in the quarter-finals against France; this resulted in striker Harry Kane missing a penalty shot.
“The figures and findings in this report do not come as a surprise but they are still massively concerning,” said David Aganzo, president of Fifpro. He went on to say that “it must lead to providing preventative measures and solutions for players who are increasingly facing this type of abuse.”
Strong reminder for everyone involved in our game
The new revelation comes as a strong reminder for everyone involved with football about how much hate is spread through social media platforms towards some athletes. More than one-third (38%) of identifiable abuses came from accounts based in Europe while South America accounted for another third (36%). However, more than three hundred people have already been identified by authorities thanks to their details being shared by the smarts tools used within SMPS.
Social Media Protection Service (SMPS)
To address this growing issue of online abuse, Fifa and Fifpro had previously established a comprehensive package of tools called the Social Media Protection Service (SMPS). During the World Cup in Qatar, 19,636 abusive or discriminatory comments were confirmed by the service provider. These messages were reported to social media platforms where many were eventually removed.
Sexism, homophobia and racism dominant forms of abuse
Of all detected tweets containing abusive language, sexism accounted for 13.47%, homophobia at 12.16% and racism at 10.70%. According to the report “social media companies’ responses to abuse and threat published on their platforms evolved throughout the tournament but still indicated many blind spots.” Targeted individual racism was one of most significant issues identified with more than three hundred players being targeted and a few high-profile ones receiving an enormous proportion of targeted abuse across different matches.
Twitter dominates as platform for posting abusive content
The study also revealed that Twitter received the highest number (13,105) of reported abusive posts followed by Instagram(5,370), Facebook (979), YouTube (113)and TikTok(69). The country recording the highest numberof offensive messageswas France followed closely by Brazil then England.
Fifa takes steps towards protection for future tournaments
The Women’s World Cup in Australia & New Zealand which is due to start on July 20th will also feature SMPS support while FIFA has launched a confidential web-based whistleblowing system that enables people report cases anonymously.The President Gianni Infantino said “FIFA expects all authorities & social media platforms accept their responsibilities & support us in our fight against all forms discrimination”.