FIFA to use AI to combat online hate speech aimed at players during Qatar World Cup

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Football’s governing body FIFA has announced that it will work with FIFPRO, the worldwide representative organisation for professional footballers, on a plan to better protect individuals with the Qatar World Cup now under five months away.

A new independent report published by FIFA has highlighted the growing levels of targeted hate speech on social media during international football tournaments in the build-up to the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

The Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup is due to take place from November 21 to December 18.

Over 400,000 social media posts uploaded during the semi-finals and finals stage of Euro 2020 and Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2021 were analysed.

Three England players were severely abused online after missing their penalties in the Euro 2020 final against Italy.

In an effort to combat this, FIFA and FIFPRO will launch a dedicated moderation service that scans for recognised hate speech terms and removes their visibility to the recipient and their followers once detected.

“Our duty is to protect football, and that starts with the players who bring so much joy and happiness to all of us by their exploits on the field of play,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said.

“We want our actions to speak louder than our words and that is why we are taking concrete measures to tackle the problem directly.

“This detection is not only there to protect football… but also to educate current and future generations who engage with our sport on social media as well as on the field of play.”

FIFPRO president David Aganzo said: “Online abuse is a societal issue and as an industry, we cannot accept that this new form of abuse and discrimination affects so many people including our players.”





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