Tennis Bodies Unite To Fight Social Media Abuse And Hate Messages Against Players

Tennis Bodies Unite To Fight Social Media Abuse And Hate Messages Against Players

by Nurein Ahmed

Four tennis governing bodies have taken drastic measures in their fight against online abuse that is directed at players by use of a real-time monitoring service.

The WTA has joined forces with the International Tennis Federation (ITF), All England Club, and the United States Tennis Association (USTA) to protect players against the constant harassment and vile messages they regularly receive on social media that impact their preparation and performance.

Online abuse has also been detrimental to player's mental health in the aftermath of losing matches. Disgruntled gamblers who forfeit their wagers bombard the social media accounts of tennis players with hate messages and even death threats.

The women's governing body noted in its press release that Threat Matrix - a specialist service developed by AI company Signify Group, will significantly help tackle the issue by monitoring players' social media profiles on X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and TikTok.

As elaborated in the statement, this service will include all partner tournaments sanctioned by the organizations involved and any player who regularly competes in an ITF World Tennis Tour, WTA Tour event, Wimbledon, and the US Open.

It is pertinent to note that this latest development does not cover the men's tour (ATP), Australian Open, and Roland Garros, according to Wednesday's announcement. The service will launch on New Year's Day and operate in 35 languages.

The responsible governing bodies will work in tandem with the social media platforms to facilitate the removal of offending accounts and law enforcement agencies of serious cases. Educational support programs will also be implemented to help the affected players mitigate abuse and threats.

Social media provides a leeway for tennis players to connect with the fans and check all important data pertaining to their matches. But for several years, it has also been used as an avenue of spreading online hate by irate gamblers. This has even completely put off many players from directly accessing their accounts for the sake of their mental well-being.


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