FIFA, in collaboration with FIFPRO, released a report on online hate speech to mark the UN’s International Day for Countering Hate Speech on June 18, and has vowed to crack down on the alarming trend in forthcoming tournaments.

What the report found:

The independent report highlighted growing incidents of hate speech on social media aimed at players during international fixtures.

The investigation by FIFA and FIFPRO used artificial intelligence to more than 400,000 posts on social media platforms during the Euro 2020 semi-finals and final, as well as during this year’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) and found numerous incidences of discriminatory comments.

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The report stated that 40% of such posts were homophobic in nature, while were 38% racist. The report also noted that most of the abuse came from the home country, and that 90% of accounts making such posts were identifiable, and hence, the individuals behind them could be held accountable and prosecuted if need be.

How FIFA intends to counter hate-speech:

FIFA and FIFPRO have vowed to use technology to counter the growing and alarming trend of hate speech on social media through in-tournament initiatives that will be implemented from the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

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The new in-tournament moderation service will scan social media for recognised hate-speech terms and prevent such posts from reaching their intended targets and their followers.

Under the new initiative, FIFA and FIFPRO will also provide mental health and educational support to players during major international tournaments.

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“With the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and FIFA World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 on the horizon, FIFA and FIFPRO recognise it is important to make a stand and to include what is monitored on social media with what is already being monitored in the stadiums,” 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,” he added.