The French Open organizers plan to shield its players from social media harassment throughout the tournament.
The French Tennis Federation will provide players with special AI technology that will filter and remove abusive posts on platforms such as Instagram and Twitter.
Players playing the French Open will be able to use an online “bodyguard” to shield themselves against abuse. The FFT launched the service in an effort to protect competitors’ mental health, as players frequently take to social media to share the hatred they receive following a defeat, typically from gamblers who lost money on them.
Tennis administrators and players will be able to connect their accounts to Bodyguard.ai technology ahead of the tournament and have it in place for at least one week after the French Open closes.
“The mental health of the players is a priority for the Roland Garros tournament. We will not accept any form of violence at our tournament,” FFT director Caroline Flaissier said. “We are very proud to be the first grand slam tournament to offer players a solution that efficiently protects them against cyberbullying.
“We want to protect the players from this damaging behaviour, to enable them to be in peak mental condition when they compete in the tournament.” If players opt in to use the technology, they can connect accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok and Discord.
Explaining how the Bodyguard technology would work, the FFT said: “It is an AI that performs moderation in real time. The comment is analysed in less than 200 milliseconds.
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“A team of linguists creates word structures to update the technology in real time from what is posted on social networks to generate a contextual analysis. The goal is to ensure that nothing is missed, while making sure that nothing is censored.”
The French Open qualifying began on Monday, and the main draw begins on Sunday. The top seeds in the men’s and women’s singles draws are likely to be Carlos Alcaraz and defending champion Iga Swiatek.