World Athletics reveal male athletes suffer more abuse compared to female counterparts

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ATHLETICS World Athletics reveal male athletes suffer more abuse compared to female counterparts

Abigael Wafula 21:07 - 23.12.2023

World Athletics announced the findings of a social media study with racist abuse on athletes having increased by 14%.

World Athletics has published the findings of a social media study conducted during the World Championships that revealed racist abuse on athletes has increased by 14% compared to 2022.

The study was focused on identifying and addressing abusive and threatening behaviour aimed at athletes on the X (Twitter) and Instagram social media platforms.

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World Athletics aims to implement greater safeguarding measures in athletics. In their bid to achieve the goal, they analysed 449,209 posts, and comments were analysed between August 18 to 28 for abusive content.

The content was analysed in 16 languages and additional dialects, protecting 1344 athletes with 1666 active accounts across both platforms.

“This included text analysis, through searches for slurs and other phrases (including emojis) that could indicate abuse. Image recognition tools were also deployed to flag potentially offensive images.

“These findings were then compared to results from the previous study, conducted a year earlier at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 (July 15 to 24, 2022).

"The research once again identified clear instances of online abuse and threats, targeting athletes competing at the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23.

"It detected notable examples of racist and sexualised abuse, with a selection of posts extending into potential action from law enforcement,” World Athletics said in a press release. 

The study revealed that X was the preferred channel for abusers, accounting for almost 90% of detected abuse, a 500% relative increase compared to 2022, and racist abuse made up over one-third of all abuse, an increase of 14% from 2022.

It also further noted that male athletes faced an increase in abuse, with the gender split of abuse being 51% targeting men and 49% targeting women. Two athletes out of 1344 monitored received 44% of all accounted abuse between them