Sportradar have launched a new service to support the welfare of athletes and protect them from abuse on social media.
The new service will be rolled out to governing bodies, leagues and federations, while the service intends to help protect the mental wellbeing of athletes. Sportradar Integrity Services, which uses technology to help prevent match-fixing and doping in sport, will investigate all cases of online trolling as well as disrupting the ability to send abusive messages online.
Additionally, the service will pinpoint ‘burner’ accounts, used to send abusive messages, and will attempt to identify those individuals involved, equipping Sportradar with the ability to clamp down on trolls. Through technology and their intelligence and investigation services, a profile of online trolls will be able to be built analysing their online behaviour and abuse.
The results are then shared along with additional support to help prevent online abuse from happening again from that particular account. This will lead to the removal of the account as well as working with law enforcement to launch any necessary legal proceedings.
Managing Director of Integreity Services, Andreas Krannich, has said, “Maintaining the integrity of sport and ensuring that it’s safe, fair and enjoyable for all, has long been our priority. Now, with this new service, we’ve strengthened our position in this space by safeguarding the athletes who compete in it and protecting them from online harm and social media abuse.
“We are providing a tangible output that our partners can share with their athletes and we’re providing support to those partners in pursuing an appropriate course of action. The service we now have in place can act as a deterrent to future online abuse and create real change, particularly when people see the impact it has.
“We believe this safeguarding solution can have a similar positive impact on sport as our Fraud Detection System has had on match fixing, where we’ve reported more than 5000 suspicious matches across global sport in 11 years.”
During the Exo-Tennis Series, the service was trialled involving ATP and WTA players such as, Taylor Townsend, Dustin Brown, and Sachia Vickery, who regularly post the abusive messages they receive online, shared a number of messages as part of the trial.
Those messages were investigated and Sportradar presented the evidence to tournament organisers who were advised with solutions to prevent the abuse from happening again in the future.
Online abuse is becoming a regular occurrence, as footballer Wilfried Zaha revealed by being racially abused before the Crystal Palace game against Aston Villa. Zaha revealed that online abuse can come from anyone as the messages he received was sent from a 12-year-old boy.
Speaking after the incident Zaha said, "People need to understand that whatever your age, your behaviour and your words come with consequences and you cannot hide behind social media.
"It is important that social media companies do as they did yesterday [Sunday] and seek out these individuals and remove them."
Sportradars’ new service is definitely a step in the right direction as the abuse can inevitably take its toll on the wellbeing of professional athletes.
Author: James Parker