A package of social media tools designed to protect players from online abuse will be offered to all teams at the 2023 Women’s World Cup, soccer’s world governing body FIFA said on Sunday.
The Social Media Protection Service (SMPS), developed by FIFA and the players’ union FIFPRO, monitors and moderates hate speech on social media, hiding harmful content from the players.
“Discrimination is a criminal act,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino. “With the help of this tool, we are identifying the perpetrators and we are reporting them to the authorities so that they are punished for their actions.”
Several teams in this year’s Women’s World Cup, being held in by Australia and New Zealand from July 20-Aug. 20, have agreed to implement the moderation element of the service immediately to automatically limit visibility of online abuse, FIFA said.
The tool was offered to players at the 2022 men’s World Cup in Qatar, where the quarter-final between England and France saw the largest spike in abuse, FIFA said in a report on Sunday.
“38% of identifiable abuse came from accounts based in Europe, with 36% from South America,” it said.
The SMPS scanned over 20 million posts and comments on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube throughout the men’s tournament in Qatar.
With specialist artificial intelligence flagging abusive comments, plus two layers of human analysis, nearly 20,000 social media posts were abusive, discriminatory, or threatening.