A-Leagues and Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) have announced a partnership with GoBubble Community to hide hateful comments on social media channels in what is believed to be a first-of-its-kind partnership around the world.
The A-Leagues social media channels are set to be shielded from forms of abuse, whether it be derogatory, harmful or offensive language through the technology of GoBubble Community.
The multi-award-winning safety technology company uses machine-learning-based software, which monitors social media accounts to identify abusive content.
Its automated solution, which launched late last year, can be tailor-made to suit the needs of any organisation to shield them from abuse within minutes – the announcement has been made following a successful trial between February 25 and 26, using the software on the Twitter profiles of Adelaide United, Melbourne Victory and Central Coast Mariners during the Pride Cup Double Header.
“Football has a unique power to connect people from all walks of life, and we want the A-Leagues to be the most welcoming and safe place at every level,” said A-Leagues CEO Danny Townsend.
“There is no place for online abuse in our game, and this move is part of our duty of care to players and our fans.
“GoBubble Community’s technology shields anyone who follows player, club and league accounts from seeing harmful abuse and keeps our communities safe.”
Meanwhile, PFA Co-Chief Executive Kathryn Gill also expressed her pleasure with the agreement.
“Social media is a powerful tool that allows players to connect and positively engage with fans, promote their careers and clubs, and share their development as people on and off the pitch,” she said.
“But their presence on these platforms unfortunately exposes them to hate and abuse which has no place in our sport or society.
“This partnership with GoBubble Community continues our commitment to addressing the issues of online harm in partnership with the APL – and ensures we protect the wellbeing of our players and encourages positive experiences online.”
GoBubble is 60% female-led at C-Suite and deals with over 21 languages in 70 countries around the world.
Founder Henry Platten stated “GoBubble Community is proud to be working in partnership with A-Leagues and Professional Footballers Australia, as they make a powerful stand to eradicate online hate and discrimination through the use of our innovative software.
“The A-Leagues is taking the lead to roll out use of this technology across all clubs, and we now hope to see this approach replicated by sports governing bodies across the globe.
“This powerful step will protect teams, players and communities from online abuse, and promote a positive and supportive virtual experience across their social channels.”
The A-Leagues and PFA are “proud signatories” of eSafety’s Commitment to Online Safety in Sport, and see this move as an important further step in helping to keep all Australians safe online and as a key prevention strategy for athletes and staff.
“These days we often find the cheapest seats in the house are behind a keyboard, with players being subjected to terrible online abuse in the course of doing their jobs,” stated eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant.
“Back in November last year we met with some of the biggest sporting codes in the country and pledged to work together to do more to protect players, coaches and support staff from online abuse.
“I think it’s great to see the A-Leagues and PFA making good on this pledge and taking a proactive approach to protecting their athletes.
“eSafety will continue pushing the major tech companies to embed Safety by Design into their platforms so that sporting organisations don’t need to take matters into their own hands and keep their players safe on these platforms.”