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Football players get protection from online abuse during World Cup

FIFA and the global football players union have launched a moderation service to protect World Cup players from abuse on social media during the tournament.

FIFA said on Wednesday that the more than 830 players in Qatar could access a “dedicated monitoring, reporting and moderation service” that aims to filter hate speech targeted at them.

“We are happy to launch a service that will help to protect players from the damaging effects that social media posts can cause to their mental health and well-being,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said.

“FIFA is committed to providing the best possible conditions for players to perform to the best of their abilities.”

The World Cup starts on Sunday, just days after Twitter fired a swath of contractors working on content moderation teams that were tracking hate and trying to enforce rules against harmful posts.

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Monitoring of social media accounts

Twitter was not mentioned in the FIFA news release providing details of the project, which was first announced in June and conducted with the players union FIFPRO, the worldwide representative organisation for professional footballers.

“Teams, players and other individual participants will also be able to opt-in to a moderation service that will instantly hide abusive and offensive comments on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, preventing them from being seen by the recipient and their followers,” football’s world body said.

The project will monitor the social media accounts of all World Cup participants and report discrimination and threats “to social networks and law authorities for real-world action against those who break the rules,” FIFA said.

The scope of hate speech aimed at football players was detailed by FIFA in June from research during the previous year at later stages of the European Championship and African Cup of Nations.

It said half of all those players received some kind of discriminatory abuse, and most of that was from their home country.

READ MORE: 2022 World Cup: Qatar hit by disinformation campaign on Twitter

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