The French Tennis Federation (FFT) is making an anti-online harassment and hate speech tool available to all the players at this years Roland Garros to protect players from online abuse, threats and insults, the clay court major said on its website on Monday.
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, according to the French Open release.
"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," it said in a statement.
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 moderat'd.
"It's great for the mental well-being of the players. It clears the mind and will help everyone have a little more freedom on the co'rt. I can't wait to see how the players react to it," said tournament director Amelie Mauresmo.
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.
The technology 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 General Data Protection Regulation (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.
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