Aug 17, 2020 - Technology

Sportradar aims to protect athletes from social media abuse

Animated illustration of a WiFi icon with various sports balls as the bottom dot.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Sportradar, best known as a supplier of data related to sports betting, has a new service aimed at helping professional athletes avoid and report online harassment.

Why it matters: Efforts geared at identifying online abuse could help pave the way for broader change outside the world of sports. As Twitter's Jack Dorsey is fond of saying, it's all about "the health of the conversation." But improving that health often feels like a never-ending quest.

How it works: Sportradar's system focuses on tracking down the often anonymous voices that are hurling vitriol and reporting them to platforms and authorities.

  • The service aims to identify the real people behind the often anonymous attacks and also looks to find patterns that can help social media platforms improve their system.
  • Sportradar tested the product in professional tennis tournaments in the U.S. and Germany, with Germany's Dustin Brown and the U.S. pair of Taylor Townsend and Sachia Vickery among those who shared abusive messages they had received on social media.

The company has experience rooting out bad behavior, running a fraud detection system for identifying match fixing.

  • The system has reported more than 5,000 suspicious sporting events worldwide over 11 years, Sportradar managing director of integrity services Andreas Krannich noted in a statement.
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