Sportradar combats social media abuse with player protection solution

Sportradar Integrity Services has upped its commitment to safeguarding professional athletes from social media abuse with the launch of its new player protection solution.

The solution will be made available to all sports federations, leagues and governing bodies, having been designed to protect the mental health and well being of professional athletes by keeping them free from online abuse.

Andreas Krannich, Managing Director Integrity Services at Sportradar, 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.”

The solution, according to Sportradar, has drawn upon ‘advanced techniques, technology and 20 years of experience servicing the sports industry’ to address harms and better protect athletes.

The service identifies the individuals behind anonymous ‘troll’ or ‘burner’ accounts used to direct abuse towards athletes. The solution will then provide a high-level location of the account, which the Sportradar team will use to analyse how that account conducts online abuse.

Sportradar confirmed that this information is shared with its partners, with further support provided in pursuing an appropriate course of action, including the removal of abusive accounts from social media platforms and working with law enforcement to bring about legal proceedings.

The product was trialled earlier in the summer at the Exo-Tennis Series across Germany and the US. Participating players from the ATP and WTA Tours, including Germany’s Dustin Brown and the US pair of Taylor Townsend and Sachia Vickery, shared abusive messages they had received on social media.

Following an in-depth investigation, Sportradar provided the event organisers with details of the problem accounts and a set of recommendations, with a suggested course of action to pursue in order to prevent future trolling and abuse.

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