— Published 7 September 2023

World Rugby wants to protect players

This is a groundbreaking initiative. With just two days to go before the tournament kicks off, World Rugby announced on Wednesday 6 September that it has teamed up with Signify Group to protect match officials and players from the risk of online abuse during the World Cup in France (8 September to 28 October). Signify Group, a data science company founded in 2017, will use an AI-based tool, Theat Matrix, to protect all officials, players and coaches online. In detail, the programme in place will see real-time monitoring throughout the tournament of data on target platforms, including X – formerly Twitter – and Instagram, in more than 30 languages, including images and emojis. There are also plans to report abusive content and accounts to the platforms on a daily basis, to remove abusive content quickly and punish account holders, and to provide evidence to national federations so that they can ban individuals from national and international rugby events. Finally, the most serious cases could be reported to the relevant law enforcement agencies, in order to unmask the worst offenders who hide behind “fake” accounts on social networks.