Social media comment sections can be a breeding ground for cyberbullying. From the average citizen to public figures like former First Lady Michelle Obama and sports star Serena Williams — no one is safe from trolls hiding behind anonymous profiles.
There are several student-focused anti-cyberbullying organizations such as Okay2Say and StopBullying.gov, and now tech companies like Sportradar are creating resources to protect and advocate for adult athletes.
Sportradar, a data and content solutions corporation, announced a new industry-first solution to support sports industries in protecting athletes from social media abuse, reports Gambling News.
“The service is designed to protect the mental health and wellbeing of professional athletes,” the company released in a statement. “The service identifies the individuals behind anonymous ‘troll’ or ‘burner’ accounts used to direct abuse towards athletes.”
The system was tested with tennis players Benjamin Hassan and Taylor Townsend who have received death threats and online abuse for years.
Hassan tells CNN Sports that since his teenage years he’s been called “a f**king Muslim terrorist” moments after stepping off the court and it gets worse as he progresses in his career.
Townsend and Hassan go as far as not checking their phone before games to avoid seeing insulting user comments, reports CNN Sports.
As a part of the trial, Sportradar was able to identify individuals behind anonymous troll accounts and provide sports organizations with the information needed to pursue further legal action.
Andreas Krannich, Managing Director of Integrity Services, tells Gambling News they hope that this will deter future online abuse.
“Maintaining the integrity of sport and ensuring that it’s safe, fair and enjoyable for all, has long been our priority,” he said. “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.”