Former world number eight Daria Kasatkina has brought attention to the alarming rise of social media abuse in the tennis community. Kasatkina recently shared screenshots of threatening messages she received after her success at the WTA Elite Trophy semi-finals in Zhuhai, revealing the extent to which players are subjected to relentless online abuse.
This issue is not exclusive to tennis. Players across various sports frequently face malicious comments and threats online. American tennis player Taylor Townsend and Poland’s Iga Swiatek have also been victims of such abuse.
In response to the growing concerns about player safety, the French Open introduced the Bodyguard technology earlier this year. This cutting-edge AI tool aims to filter out abusive comments from popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, and Discord. However, while this technological solution may offer some relief, it does not address the root cause of the problem.
Social media platforms have voiced their commitment to tackling abuse, with Instagram implementing a tool in 2021 to allow users to automatically filter out abusive messages from those they do not follow. Additionally, the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has partnered with a risk assessment and management company to monitor and suspend social media accounts when necessary.
Nevertheless, the existing measures alone are not sufficient. The WTA recognizes the seriousness of the issue and has been actively educating and counseling players on how to cope with online abuse. However, a comprehensive and collaborative approach is required to combat this problem effectively.
By implementing stricter regulations, such as stricter identification requirements when creating social media accounts, and increasing penalties for those found guilty of online abuse, it may be possible to create a safer environment for athletes on social media platforms.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What is the Bodyguard technology?
A: The Bodyguard technology is an AI tool used the French Open to filter out abusive comments from popular social media platforms.
Q: How is the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) addressing social media abuse?
A: The WTA works with a risk assessment and management company to monitor and shut down social media accounts involved in abusive behavior.
Q: What can be done to combat social media abuse in tennis?
A: Stricter regulations, improved identification requirements, and increased penalties for offenders could contribute to combating social media abuse in tennis.