England's quarter-final loss caused biggest abuse spike at World Cup

REVEALED: England’s quarter-final loss to France caused the biggest spike in online abuse at the Qatar World Cup last year – with nearly 20,000 abusive comments reported across the tournament

  • England were beaten 2-1 by France in last year’s World Cup quarter final
  • The game prompted the biggest spike in online abuse of the tournament
  • In total, 19,636 abusive comments were recognised across the World Cup

A report from FIFA has revealed that England’s World Cup quarter final loss to France last year caused the biggest spike in online abuse of the tournament.

38% of the abuse came from accounts based in Europe as Gareth Southgate’s men lost 2-1 to the tournament’s eventual runners-up, with a further 36% coming from South America.

The report, which scanned over 20 million posts and comments on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube across the tournament, recognised 19,636 as abusive, discriminatory, or threatening.

Those posts were reported to the platforms they were found on, and FIFA claim that ‘many’ were then deleted.

Over 300 people who made comments or posts that were deemed abusive, discriminatory, or threatening during the tournament have been referred to their member associations or jurisdictional authorities with the aim of ‘real world action’ against them.

England’s loss to France in last year’s World Cup quarter final prompted the biggest spike in online abuse of the tournament

Players at the Qatar World Cup were offered moderation software that hid offensive comments as part of the Social Media Protection Service (SMPS), which was established with FIFA alongside FIFPRO. 

In total, 286,895 comments were hidden from public view before their targets could see them.

SMPS will be available to players at the upcoming women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, with several teams already agreeing to use the moderation aspect.

In a statement that accompanied the report, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said: ‘Discrimination is a criminal act. 

‘With the help of this tool, we are identifying the perpetrators and we are reporting them to the authorities so that they are punished for their actions.

‘We also expect the social media platforms to accept their responsibilities and to support us in the fight against all forms of discrimination. Our position is clear: we say no to discrimination.’

On the report’s findings, FIFPRO President David Aganzo added: ‘The figures and findings in this report do not come as a surprise, but they are still massively concerning. 

In total, FIFA recognised close to 20,000 abusive comments across the tournament

FIFA president Gianni Infantino called for social media platforms to ‘support us in the fight against discrimination’

‘They represent a strong reminder for everyone involved in our game, and it must lead to providing preventative measures and solutions for players who are increasingly facing this type of abuse.

‘Football has a responsibility to protect the players and other affected groups around their workspace. 

‘Therefore, FIFPRO and FIFA will continue their collaboration and provide the same service at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. 

‘But we cannot do this alone – we need all stakeholders to play their part if we want to create a safer and better environment for football.’

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