Social media companies do need our help; especially when it comes to fighting online abuse. The situation in the last few years has truly degenerated, and calls for more severe actions. To this end, a new report published by The Athletic has revealed that six English Premier League clubs are working with an American software company to deploy a tool that will make online abuse disappear instantly.
Respondology is a tool developed by an American software company that hides abuse in real-time on social media platforms, while also working to identify perpetrators of such acts. The software, according to The Athletic, has been presented to various EPL clubs.
While EPL clubs have not ruled out a boycott of their own, the option of Respondology does look appealing to the clubs. With the software installed, players may no longer be exposed to online abuse.
The software is powered by artificial intelligence as well as a team of 1,000 human moderators to filter abuse in real-time. While Respondology stops the abuse being seen by clubs and players, it leaves the post visible to the original poster.
President of Respondology Erik Swain stated “Our tool is called ‘Mod™’. This removes abusive comments, as well as spam and bots, in almost less than a second in real-time. It works 24/7, 365 days per year. We use keyword filtering technology to do this, which is highly customisable for every club or every brand. This enables them to draw the line where they want on allowing discourse and discussion, so it does not stray into what they consider to be abuse.”
Last week, a soccer team in Scotland announced a one-week total boycott of social media. The entire team of Rangers FC announced that it will stay off all social media platforms to register its displeasure at how players and officials of the club have been subjected to online abuse.
British soccer has been a subject of various online abuse in the last couple of months; and despite several warnings and threats of boycott, things have grown worse. The Rangers FC case is unprecedented in the history of sports in Britain. This effort is aimed at not only protecting the players, but sending a strong message to Twitter, Facebook and the likes.
In March, former Arsenal and Barcelona forward Thierry Henry quit social media in protest against racism. Thierry, a former French international and one of the most respected voices online, said the problem is “too toxic to ignore” and vowed not to return until the “abuse is with the same vigour and ferocity.”