Women athletes need better protection on social media

Women athletes need better protection on social media

Women athletes were the target of 87% of social media abuse during the Tokyo Olympics, according to a study from World Athletics. “These results raise concerns that existing safeguarding measures on social media platforms need to be tougher to protect athletes”, the study says.

The organization said the study “revealed disturbing levels of abuse of athletes, including sexist, racist, transphobic and homophobic posts, and unfounded doping accusations. It also unequivocally highlights the greater levels of abuse female athletes receive in comparison to their male counterparts.”

  • 240,707 tweets including 23,521 images, GIFs and videos were analyzed.
  • 132 targeted discriminatory posts from 119 authors, with 23 of the 161 tracked athletes receiving targeted abuse.
  • Out of the 23 athletes who received abuse, 16 were women with 115 of the 132 identified abusive posts directed at female athletes.
  • Female athletes received 87% of all abuse.
  • 63% of identified abuse was directed at just two athletes – both black and female – while the two most common categories of abuse were of a sexist (29%) and/or racist (26%) nature, accounting for 55% of all identified abuse.
  • Unfounded doping accusations made up 25% of abusive messages, while 10% consisted of transphobic (9%) and homophobic (1%) posts.
  • 89% of racist abuse was targeted at US athletes, despite them representing only 23% of the study set.

“65% of abusive posts were deemed gravely abusive, thus warranting intervention from the social channel. We work closely with Twitter and have notified them of the relevant posts and users and will continue to work with their team to take appropriate actions against the perpetrators”, World Athletics said.

Read Also:  UK's Football Leagues and Women's Super League boycott social media

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