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A recent survey showed that a Premier League footballer is abused every four minutes on Twitter with Manchester United players the most targeted. Harry Maguire, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Bruno Fernandes were the most abused players during the first half of the 2021-22 Premier League season. The study was conducted after the abuse received by Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka after they missed penalties in the Euro 2020 final.

“These findings shed light on a dark side to the beautiful game. Online abuse has no place in sport, nor in wider society, and tackling it requires a team effort,” a survey showed that Manchester United players were among the most abused players in the Premier League. “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.”

“These stark findings uncover the extent to which footballers are subjected to vile abuse across social media. Prominent players receive messages from thousands of accounts daily on some platforms, and it wouldn’t have been possible to find all the abuse without these innovative AI techniques,” Dr. Bertie Vidgen said. “While tackling online abuse is difficult, we can’t leave it unchallenged. More must be done to stop the worst forms of content to ensure that players can do their job without being subjected to abuse.”

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