BBC Sport – Chelsea suffer most abuse from social media trolls

Will this research change anything?

BBC sports editor Dan Roan says: “These worrying findings underline the growing problem in sport – but especially in football – of discriminatory abuse by trolls via the internet.

after admitting tweeting racially offensive comments about Fabrice Muamba after the former footballer suffered a cardiac arrest in 2012 while playing for Bolton.

Premier League clubs and players have received more than 130,000 abusive posts on social media this season, according to a study by anti-discrimination group Kick It Out.

And players?

About 39,000 discriminatory posts were directed towards Premier League players between August 2014 and March 2015.

“Kick It Out has grown frustrated by what it sees as a lack of co-ordination between the police and social media platforms over malicious posts and wants the clubs to do more. Campaigners will now hope it leads to renewed efforts to tackle it.

It focused on discriminatory messages directed at Premier League clubs and players between August 2014 and March 2015.

Facebook (8%)

Forums (3%)

Blogs (1%)

The report does not include mentions on private profiles, which are gated and could not be monitored.

How bad is it?

According to Kick It Out’s study, there have been an estimated 134,400 discriminatory posts this season related to the Premier League alone.

That equates to:

The group says it is exploring forming a group made up of representatives from football, social media platforms and police to address the level of football-related racist, sexist and homophobic abuse. Stamping that out will be extremely difficult, but this could be an important stage in that effort.”


Number of discriminatory posts

Highest proportion of abuse by type

Mario Balotelli


52% (racist)

Danny Welbeck


50% (racist)

Daniel Sturridge


60% (sexual orientation)

Where did most abuse appear?

Social media activity on Twitter accounted for 88% of the 134,400 discriminatory posts.

Read Dan’s blog on the topic from November.

Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli was targeted the most.

So what now?

Kick It Out is exploring the possibility of setting up an expert group to tackle the issue of football-related hate crime across social media and plans to meet with those working in football, the police, internet safety bodies and various social media platforms.

“Twitter says it is being proactive, but the anonymity afforded to online users can make it difficult to track down offenders.

“We must do all we can as a collective to protect those who are on the receiving end of discriminatory abuse.”

A 21-year-old student was

jailed for 56 days

while Facebook has a

community standards page 

And while Chelsea have received more abuse than any other top-flight club – the league leaders were the subject of 20,000 discriminatory posts between August 2014 and March 2015 – Liverpool were not far behind, with 19,000 abusive messages directed towards them.

It was followed by:

Kick It Out now wants to form an expert group to tackle internet trolls.

16,800 discriminatory posts a month

551 of them per day

1 abusive mention every 2.6 minutes

What do the abusers target?

What safety measures are already in place?

Twitter has an

abusive behaviour policy, 

The research found Chelsea were the most targeted club, while Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli suffered more abuse than any other player.

Which clubs are abused the most?

More than 95,000 discriminatory posts were directed towards Premier League teams.

Who does the most abusing?

78% of abuse comes from men, with 22% from women.

How were the figures collated?

The research was conducted by social media management agency Tempero and Brandwatch, a social intelligence and analytics company.

Which games attracted the most abuse?

Wood said: “So far this season, we have received 140 complaints relating to football-based hate crime on social media, yet we can see from these findings that over 134,000 discriminatory posts have occurred just in relation to the Premier League. It is a huge volume to be looking at addressing, but we must confront the problem head on.”

. outlining its policies to help keep users safe.

“The level of abuse is truly staggering,” director Roisin Wood said. There have also been prosecutions as a result of abuse targeted at sports people on social media. Social media enables fans get closer than ever to players, but it also helps a minority to abuse and insult

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