FIFA has found that one in five players whose social media accounts were actively monitored received online abuse throughout the Women’s World Cup.
697 player social media accounts were monitored with 152 players receiving discriminatory, abusive or threatening messages with homophobic, sexist and sexualised messages accounted for more than half of the abusive posts identified by FIFA.
Players at the finals were given the opportunity to opt in to the social media protection service (SMPS) moderation service, which can intercept and hide abusive messages from view. SMPS scanned more than five million social posts, with 102,511 posts flagged by artificial intelligence for human review. Of those, 7,085 were verified as discriminatory, abusive or threatening and reported to platforms.
Players from Argentina and United States received the highest volume of abuse with 637 instances of abuse taking place during the England v Spain final with the conduct of former Spanish football federation president Luis Rubiales seeing a spike in abusive and misogynistic content.
The report included a quote from Colombia’s Leicy Santos “If there is one thing that footballers suffer from the most, apart from losing, it is all the abusive comments – the taunts, the insults. Beyond what we do as professional footballers, we are people. Some players are able to put up with the outrageous abuse we receive online, but other players aren’t. It is a very sensitive issue when it comes to mental health.”
FIFA President Gianni Infantino, said there was “no place on social media for those who abuse or threaten anyone.”