Stats Perform partners Signify to tackle social media abuse

The supplier said that social media abuse is now recognised as one of the most serious problems facing sport and that fans, players, teams, leagues and governments have called for action to be taken.

Stats Perform said that the sports integrity field now needs to expand in order to include an increased focus on the problem given its impact on sport and its participants.

The supplier’s Integrity Unit will therefore partner with Signify to identify abuse in real time using a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

Stats Perform will work with Signify to expand the data science specialist’s Threat Matrix, a proprietary service which detects online abuse at scale.

The organisations will work together to focus on providing sports industry stakeholders including rights holders, teams, player associations, international federations and governing bodies, with the service to unmask abusers and identify the trends, tactics and technologies used to send hate online.

Threat Matrix provides proactive monitoring and analysis of millions of open source social media posts across multiple platforms, and strips online abusers of their anonymity.

The service, which has been developed over the last two years, features capabilities including images and emoji recognition as well as keywords, phrases and abusive language.

Signify has conducted projects across multiple sports including athletics, basketball, cricket and football, and has run international open source investigations for Fifa. It is currently working with Premier League football clubs to protect players from online hate.

The Professional Footballers’ Association has also partnered with Signify to carry out the most comprehensive study of its kind into online abuse, analysing 6m tweets over the 2020-21 season, which led to the removal of thousands of posts and accounts from social media platforms.

Carl Mergele, chief executive of Stats Perform, said: “Our Integrity work at Stats Perform focuses on the protection of sport and that includes athletes and other participants.

“Sports are under increasing pressure from fans and sponsors to demonstrate moral and social responsibility and our partnership with Signify Group will see the deployment of game-changing AI to protect players, athletes and officials from online racist, homophobic, sexist and other abuse.”

Jonathan Hirshler, chief executive of Signify, added: “We are delighted to be partnering with Stats Perform to offer Threat Matrix to their unrivalled portfolio of clients.

“The combination of Stats Perform’s sports industry expertise and Threat Matrix’s bespoke AI-powered proactive monitoring and analysis capabilities provides sports stakeholders with an industry leading solution to help protect their athletes and staff from online threat and discriminatory abuse.”

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