FIFA plans to monitor all social media activity during this summer’s Women’s World Cup to help stem a “social crisis” affecting footballers in the field of mental health.
Having successfully set up its own protection service for social networks (” Social Media Protection Service SMPS) at the men’s World Cup in Qatar last year, FIFA pledged to use the same screening procedures at this year’s Women’s World Cup, promising to cover the full service cost for as long as necessary.
Each of the 32 member associations participating in the ninth final phase of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, which begins on 20 July, will be given access to the service, with all 736 players invited once national selections are published for the final. existing. FIFA says that several participating countries have already agreed to implement a moderation component of the service to immediately and automatically reduce the visibility of online abuse.
During the Men’s World Cup, FIFA revealed this More than 20 million messages On Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and YouTube analyzed. of this total, 19,636 posts It was identified as abusive, discriminatory or threatening, culminating in the quarter-finals of England and France where Harry Kane He missed a penalty late in the game.
Of all the comments reported, more than a quarter were classified as general abuse (26.24%), 13.47% were identified as sexist and 12.16% were homophobic. For the Women’s World Cup, FIFA is preparing to broaden and strengthen the categories aimed at protecting female players by conducting a “detailed analysis of the insults and abusive comments that have historically targeted women’s football.”
To do this, FIFA will “work with players, ex-players and experts to analyze and validate terms and filters, including new emojis and specific tactics”. It will also communicate with officials and representatives of the two host countries, Australia and New Zealand, to “integrate delicate regional issues”.
Sanctions will be imposed by FIFA, which will work with social media platforms to quickly remove offensive comments. In addition, players will be able to choose to moderate their accounts during the tournament, which will make it possible to detect and hide offensive, discriminatory or threatening content in real time.
FIFA insists that “the main aim of these services is to protect players, teams, officials and fans from abuse, to keep their social networks free of hate and to allow them to focus on their participation in FIFA events.”
in all, 12,168 social media accounts They were identified as having made offensive comments during the Men’s World Cup. All of these accounts were reported to their respective platforms and 1,189 were deemed to be Level 1 accounts, deserving of judicial law enforcement action in the respective country. On the other hand, 306 people Verifiably identified and work is under way to compile evidence to build cases against those who have committed a criminal offence.
Last year, UEFA launched a similar campaign against online abuse titled ” Real scars Supported by the French player Wendy Fox And the Swiss Alicia Lyman. As part of a pilot project, they monitored social media comments during last summer’s UEFA Women’s Euro (60% of the 447 comments reported by the respective platforms were deleted) as well as during April’s Finalissima between England and Brazil (83 comments were flagged as offensive, including 12 in the severest category). The messages identified were classified as hate speech (78%), sexism (21%) and homophobia (1%). In all, 65% of these messages were directed against women’s football in general, while 21% were directed at female players.
On the International Day of No Hate Speech (June 18), the world’s federation of professional footballers, FIFPRO, explained how comments on social media can have a negative impact on a footballer’s mental health: “Abusive comments are a personal attack on the identities and characteristics of the players they It can have detrimental effects on their general well-being.These attacks can also cause players to hide and distance themselves from who they are or want to be.”
Fifbro added that “football players may feel discouraged to admit that they have been affected by social media abuse and may choose to act as if everything is fine with them,” a self-protection strategy that results in them not addressing the problem or seeking the support they need. .
A FIFPRO analysis of the consequences for the mental health of players concluded that misuse of social networks can lead to a range of consequences and lead to real symptoms such as anxiety attacks, depression, accumulation of trauma, low self-esteem, sleep disturbances, changes in eating habits, feelings of inadequacy, social withdrawal and isolation, and in cases extreme, death by suicide.
Translated article from the American magazine Forbes – Author: Asif Burhan
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