In a first for the Parisian Grand Slam, the French Tennis Federation (FFT) is making an anti-online harassment and hate speech tool available to all the players at this year’s tournament.
A smart moderating solution
The social media accounts of tennis players attract insults, death threats, and hateful and sometimes racist and homophobic comments made by trolls. In response, the FFT, which set up a support unit in 2018 for French players, has decided to step up its fight against online harassment using Bodyguard.ai technology, adopting a smart solution to moderate the players’ social media content during Roland-Garros.
Roland-Garros has always made it a priority to create a safe space for players on social media. By connecting to this new system, they will be protected from all types of harassment (discrimination, insults, mockery, threats, etc) and be able to engage with their fans in complete safety and focus on their performance on the court.
“Social media is a major conduit for expressing hate and hostility, all under the cover of anonymity,” said Yann Guerin, head of sport at Bodyguard.ai. “We must be alert to this sad reality. There’s no avoiding it, as the cost of doing nothing is too high. We would like to thank the French Tennis Federation and the organisers of Roland-Garros for joining this collective fight. The aim is to protect the players and their mental health directly and indirectly – because their entourages can also read these comments – and ban people intent on spreading hate and being aggressive. Tennis is one of the sports most affected by this curse.”
Daily reports and real-time alerts
The technology safeguards the accounts of all players in the main draw and the official FFT and Roland-Garros accounts, with protection available in the lead-up to the tournament and for a few days after it. To make use of the technology, which regulates public comments made on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in particular, all players need to do is scan a QR Code before connecting to their social media accounts. For GDPR reasons, private messages will not be moderated.
Bodyguard.ai will provide the organisers with daily reports (number of messages received, number of messages deleted, etc), alert them in real time in the event of an identified attack, and can even – at the request of the FFT – provide extracts of messages and the identities of the culprits in the event of legal action.
“It’s great for the mental well-being of the players,” said tournament director Amelie Mauresmo. “It clears the mind and will help everyone have a little more freedom on the court. I can’t wait to see how the players react to it.”