England World Cup stars to be shielded from trolls at World Cup by cutting-edge tech that blocks abuse from their phones


ENGLAND World Cup stars will be shielded from racist trolls at the competition by cutting-edge tech that blocks abuse from their phones.

Football stars Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho were left in tears when they were bombarded with hate after missing penalties at the Euro 2020 Final defeat against Italy.

Saka was left in tears after the Euro 2020 Final heartbreak


Saka was left in tears after the Euro 2020 Final heartbreakCredit: Reuters
Rashford was bombarded by disgusting racial abuse after his penalty miss


Rashford was bombarded by disgusting racial abuse after his penalty missCredit: AP

But FIFA world football bosses have confirmed players will be protected by an incredible new “Threat Matrix” troll-blocking system at Qatar 2022.

Boffins have perfected an artificial intelligence programme which scans millions of online messages and identifies abusive words and emojis.

Offensive messages will remain visible on favoured troll haunts like Twitter and Instagram and will not be erased from the web.

But the incredible technology will act as a filter built into players phones – making sick jibes invisible to stars before they turn on the mobiles after games.

The matrix system is also designed to flag up the IP addresses used by trolls to enable police to track them down and take action if the law if broken.

Unveiling the groundbreaking cyber shield, a FIFA report said: “Our game-changing technology protects players and athletes from vile online racist and discriminatory abuse.

“Our focus is on moving the current reactive reporting process  -requiring a player to receive and report abuse – to a proactive response with earlier interventions to protect players.

“Threat Matrix provides real-time monitoring and analysis of millions of open source social media posts across multiple platforms. 

“With a lead focus on Twitter and Instagram – historically the most problematic platforms for online abuse – the service has developed capabilities that include recognition of images, emojis, as well as keywords, phrases and a long list of abusive words, terms and profanities.

“The service flags the vilest social media posts and provides evidence for removal to social platforms, building compelling evidential cases to take to relevant authorities.”

Police arrested 11 people over the barrage of bigotry online after England’s penalties heartbreak at Wembley in July last year – with two receiving jail terms.

Saka, 19, had not long been on the pitch when the game went to a penalty shootout with the score at 1-1.

Within minutes of his shot being saved the England winger’s Instagram account was flooded with monkey emojis.

Other Three Lions fans rallied to support the teenager, promising to get the offensive comments reported and removed.

MPs and the FA blasted Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for failing to crack down on the culprits.

But little has been done to drive haters off platforms since.

The FA said at the time it was “appalled by the online racism” aimed at some players on social media.

A spokesman added: “Social media companies need to step up and take accountability and action to ban abusers from their platforms, gather evidence that can lead to prosecution and support making their platforms free from this type of abhorrent abuse.”



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