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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.

Go deeper

Updated 14 hours ago - Technology

From Malcolm X to "Free Britney," new media shapes the justice system

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.

Updated 17 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.

Updated 17 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 Omicron variant cases identified in Europe, U.K.

People wearing masks walk in London on Nov. 25. Photo: Li Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images

Health officials in the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany announced on Saturday that they've detected the first known cases of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The discoveries come as the world scrambles to respond to concerns over the new variant, discovered in South Africa earlier this week.