But this report – which was produced jointly by FIFPro, the world soccer players’ association, and the NBPA and WNBPA, the unions representing players in the NBA and WNBA – indicates that these organizations still have work to do.
The study covered the period from May to September 2021 and followed the mention of about 80 soccer players who play in Europe and South America and 80 basketball players in the NBA and WNBA, and these athletes totaled 200 million followers.
The report revealed that players received hundreds of “offensive” comments, including racist posts and “threatening or violent language”.
The study notes that “players from all sports share similar risk profiles and experience appalling abuse in the online workplace that impacts mental health, lifestyle, and performance.”
Using a technology called Threat Matrix, data science company Signify Group has been able to track more than 7.3 million tweets that addressed football and basketball players with the “@” function.
Originally used to research death threats and dangerous behavior, the Threat Matrix Library has expanded over the past 18 months to include “hundreds of discriminatory and offensive terms that include racism, homophobia and misogyny” as well as emojis.
Any Tweets flagged by the technology as offensive, threatening or offensive is reviewed by analysts individually to ensure there are no errors.
Overall, FIFPro says the study found 1,558 abusive posts sent from 1,455 different accounts in the affected soccer leagues, the NBA and WNBA.
The breakdown includes 648 offensive tweets targeting NBA players, 427 at football players, and 398 at NBA stars.
Sexual abuse and homophobia were among the largest categories of abuse directed against WNBA players. Four out of five cases of targeted abuse in the WNBA involved sexually explicit or harassing messages, while sexism and homophobia account for the majority (90%) of specific targeted abuse in women’s soccer.
‘Not a safe place’
Abuse of social media is not a problem unique to Twitter. However, Twitter allows the public to access its programs, while this type of study was not possible on Instagram and Facebook.
Dr. says. William de Parham, director of the NBPA’s Mental Health and Wellness Program, writes in the study.
Consequences, “undoubtedly caused by social media abuse,” Parham says, include social media addiction, anxiety, depression, sadness, pitfalls associated with social comparison, jealousy, feelings of inadequacy, social withdrawal and isolation, suicide and insomnia.
“When athletes are viewed in contexts such as race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, fame, or ‘celebrity’ status, they may feel reluctant to admit that they feel negatively affected by social media abuse,” Parham adds.
“Instead, they can choose to pretend they are okay. These self-protection strategies, which include “anonymity” and cover-up, can put athletes at greater risk of falling into the cracks of care and sensitivities and not receiving support and wise advice that can help them manage their responses to abuse Social communication. For better guidance.”
“We are committed to combating abuse motivated by hate, prejudice or intolerance, and as outlined in our Hateful Conduct Policy, we tolerate abuse or harassment of people on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation that is not.” A CNN spokesperson said in a statement.
“Today, our automated systems show more than 50% of offending content, which reduces the burden on individuals to report abuse. Although we have made great strides recently to give people more control over their security, we know there is still work to be done. “.
According to Twitter, it did not receive the account and tweet data included in the report, so it cannot comment specifically on it, although it welcomes third-party reviews to improve the user experience on its platform.
Speaking to CNN last year, Thierry Henry said social media was “not a safe place or a safe environment” after the former France international previously announced he would be closing his accounts until social media companies do more, to stop online abuse.
Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe described the psychological losses that players suffer, and told CNN that the attacks he received after France’s exit from the European Championship 2020 “hurt” him and “heavy” her suffering.
In addition to Twitter, the study also monitored all hot spots on Instagram and Facebook during this period, according to FIFPro.
The three players’ unions say only collective industrial action by social media companies, clubs, tournament organizers, legislators and law enforcement can effectively address the ongoing online abuse of top athletes.
In an interview with CNN published on Tuesday, England and Borussia Dortmund midfielder Judd Bellingham questioned whether the football authorities were really “interested” in racist insults against black footballers.
“Maybe we’re alone and maybe they don’t care, maybe they don’t,” he said. “And it may be up to me and us to act independently to spread our message.”
Among the study’s main findings, unions say there is a clear lack of moderation and organization. At the time of publication, FIFPro says 87% of cases of abuse detected are still online and publicly visible.
“There is a general tendency for the public to downplay behavior that would not be tolerated in stadiums or other physical settings, even when player testimony confirms how intimate access to their online personas can harm their mental health and well-being.” , says the study.