Research reveals far more hope than hate in messages sent to England women at Euro 2022

The study of 78,141 posts on Twitter, Reddit and 4Chan identified more than 50,000 positive posts – roughly one “hate” post for every 125 “hope” posts – while 380 were categorized as sexist or homophobic.

The others were either negative or neutral.

The report’s authors said that while this was small compared to previous research on men’s gambling, social media abuse – and platforms’ inaction in removing content – remained a concern.

England women’s squad for Euro 2022

“Last year we saw horrific racist abuse directed at individual players after the England men’s team lost on penalties to Italy in the Euro 2020 final,” he said. said Professor Matthew Williams, HateLab director and hate crime expert.

“In the Women’s Euro we found significantly fewer posts aimed at individual England players, which is perhaps unexpected but may reflect the different audience for the game and the positive sentiment around the team’s success.

“We also know that the depiction of positive stereotypes in football can suppress the expression of prejudice – our previous stories around the ‘[Mo] The Salah Effect has seen a drop in anti-Muslim hate speech online from Liverpool fans and a reduction in hate crime on the streets of Merseyside.

“That said, the nature of the 380 posts we identified was concerning, including attempts to dismiss the success of women’s football, with players being told in some of the less offensive posts to ‘go back to the kitchen’ or ‘ make a sandwich” and suggestions that women shouldn’t play football.

“There were also grossly offensive posts that made sexual references.

“It is surprising that most of these messages remain live on the platforms.”

The researchers developed new algorithms designed within HateLab to analyze thousands of English language posts sent between May 2 and August 1.

The algorithms are trained on natural hate speech which is annotated by human coders to ensure a high level of precision, accuracy and recall.

This enabled HateLab technology to detect misogynistic and homophobic messages in real time and at scale during the tournament.

They found that England players received 50,422 positive posts over the 13-week period, with ‘hopeful’ content peaking when England played Norway, Spain and Sweden.

The biggest spike was in the final against Germany.

A total of 380 posts were identified as sexist hate speech, following a similar trend over time to positive content, and culminating in 93 posts in the finale.

By comparison, there were 920 racist posts identified per hour at the height of communications on Twitter following England’s missed shots in last year’s final.

The analysis of hate speech publications revealed:

Twenty-three of the 25 women in the England squad have been targeted with hate messages;

The majority of hate speech was identified as misogynist (96%) and 4% as homophobic;

Hotspots have been identified in London, Manchester, Liverpool and Sheffield;

The majority were made on Twitter (97%), with 3% on Reddit and 1% on 4Chan and most posts (94%) remain live;

Half (54%) came from UK-based Twitter accounts and the majority (91%) of abusive messages were sent by users identifying as men;

Online hate speech peaked in the late evening between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., then dropped sharply between football matches.

“The vast majority of sexist posts that can be considered extremely offensive remain online, suggesting that moderation efforts have no impact on removing hate speech and that social media platforms need to take additional measures to protect users from abusive communications online,” said Professor Williams, who is based at Cardiff University’s School of Social Sciences.

“Campaigns such as EE’s Hope United, Kick It Out, Show Racism the Red Card and Rainbow Laces are working to raise awareness and prevent hate across the football calendar – but there is still a long way to go before to see online abuse disappear from the platforms.

“Governments and social media companies need to go further, but ultimately, until the majority of users of these platforms become advocates of hate instead of spectators, we are unlikely to see eradicating hateful abuse from our online spaces.”

HateLab was created with funding from the Economic and Social Research Council.

Comments are closed.