Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Maguire and Marcus Rashford are the players that account for eight of the top ten most insulted players on Twitter receiving the most anti-social tweets, according to a new report.
According to the Ofcom report, 68% of Premier League football players experienced abuse on Twitter during the first half of the previous season.
More than 2.3 million tweets sent to top-tier players during the first five months of the 2021–22 campaign were analyzed by the regulator in collaboration with The Alan Turing Institute, the UK’s national institute for data science and artificial intelligence, and it was discovered that nearly 60,000 of them were abusive.
It was discovered that 418 out of the 618 players analyzed had received at least one abusive tweet, with 8% of the abuse directed at a protected trait like race or gender. 12 specific players received an average of 15 hostile tweets per day or around half of the abusive messages.
Eight of the top 10 most abused players were Manchester United players. According to the study, Rashford received 2,557 hostile tweets, Maguire 8,954 tweets, and Cristiano Ronaldo 12,520.
Other players in the top 10 include Bruno Fernandes, David de Gea, Fred, England captain Harry Kane of Tottenham, Jack Grealish of Manchester City, ex-United players Jesse Lingard, and Paul Pogba.
According to the research, there were two significant peaks in abuse during the 2021 Premier League season: August 27 and November 7 of the previous year. When Cristiano Ronaldo moved from Juventus to Manchester United in August, there were two spikes in abusive tweets and “identity attacks” that were sent on the same day, according to Ofcom.
The second peak happened at the same time that Harry Maguire issued an apology and described United’s current situation as “a difficult time.”
In addition to using new technology to determine if tweets are abusive, 3,000 random tweets were personally examined for the study. According to Ofcom, more than half of the 3,000 tweets were positive, 27% were neutral, 12.5% were negative, and 3.5% were abusive.
Twitter was chosen because of its popularity among players, history of misuse, and availability of data for research. The Application Programming Interface (API), however, does not account for the security measures put in place.
The new Online Safety laws, which will establish guidelines for websites, applications, search engines, and messaging platforms with a focus on user protection, will be used by Ofcom to oversee tech companies.
“These findings shed light on a dark side to the beautiful game,” Ofcom group director for broadcasting and online content Kevin Bakhurst said. “Online abuse has no place in sports or in society at large, and it must be combated together.
“Social media firms needn’t wait for new laws to make their sites and apps safer for users. When we become the regulator for online safety, tech companies will have to be really open about the steps they’re taking to protect users. We will expect them to design their services with safety in mind.
“Supporters can also play a positive role in protecting the game they love. Our research shows the vast majority of online fans behave responsibly, and as the new season kicks off we’re asking them to report unacceptable, abusive posts whenever they see them.”
Twitter is committed to reducing abuse and recently conducted research using its technology that indicated 38,000 nasty tweets were posted last season. Twitter claimed that it did not receive any of the abusive tweets mentioned in the study. More than 38,000 nasty tweets were also deleted.
The social media business focused on lessening the burden on the victims by identifying abuse itself using its own technology and third-party safety tools after receiving fewer than 1,000 reports of abusive tweets through its reporting partner.
Additionally, Twitter participates in focus groups with football partners to discuss how to lessen abuse. According to a Twitter spokesman, “We are committed to preventing abuse and, as established in our Hateful Conduct Policy, we do not accept the abuse or harassment of people based on their color, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.”