World Athletics, the former International Association of Athletics Federations, found that female athletes were the target of 87% of all online abuse at this year’s Tokyo Olympics.
The findings come from a study conducted during the Games and published on Thursday.
The data comes after the release of World Athletics’ new safeguard policy last month, which highlights concerns that social media platforms need stronger safeguards policies to protect athletes.
Using a sample of 161 Twitter users of current and former athletes involved in Tokyo, the study tracked their accounts from a week before the Olympic opening ceremony and ended the day after the closing ceremony.
The results found sexist, racist, transphobic and homophobic abuses of athletes, as well as unfounded allegations of doping.
The study said: “It also unequivocally highlights the higher levels of abuse that female athletes receive compared to males.” In addition, the results found that 65% of abusive posts were considered severely abusive and warranted intervention by social media platforms.
“When we published our Safeguard Policy earlier this month, I said that athletic clubs, schools and community sports environments should be safe and happy places for those who play our sport,” said World Athletics President Sebastian Coe in report.
“In a world where we share so much of our lives online, this must apply to the virtual world as well as the physical world. This research is disturbing in many ways, but what amazes me most is that the abuse is directed at individuals who are celebrating and sharing their performances and talents as a way to inspire and motivate people.
“Confronting the types of abuse they experience is mind-boggling and we all need to do more to stop it. Lighting the subject is just the first step.”
World Athletics said in the study that it will work closely with Twitter to take appropriate action against perpetrators and notified the platform of abusive posts discovered in the survey.
* (Translated text. Click here to read the original).
Reference: CNN Brasil