Real Scars: highlighting the effects of online abuse
Tuesday, April 11, 2023
UEFA to monitor and report abuse on social media platforms around this week's men’s club competition matches.
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UEFA will use this week's global focus on its men's club competitions to reignite the Real Scars campaign against online abuse.
Real Scars launched last summer ahead of UEFA Women's EURO 2022, raising awareness of a problem that affects players and fans alike.
Featuring stars such as Alisha Lehmann, Jorginho, Wendie Renard, Heung-Min Son and Patrick Vieira, the campaign emphasises how online abuse can leave a permanent scar on its victims.
A dedicated Real Scars TV advert will be shown during each of the matches in this week's UEFA Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League quarter-final first legs, with the video to be played on big screens in stadiums across the three competitions, as well as on UEFA's social media platforms.
Monitoring, reporting and removing abuse
UEFA will also monitor and report cases of online abuse across the week's quarter-final action, following a successful pilot campaign for UEFA Women's EURO 2022.
During the tournament, we launched a dedicated platform to report cases of online abuse, the first time a sports governing body had actively monitored posts and worked with social media platforms (Twitter, Meta and TikTok) to have offensive posts removed.
A total of 447 posts across social media platforms were flagged for review, with 60 per cent removed by the respective platforms.
Monitoring was also carried out at last week’s Women’s Finalissima between England and Brazil, where we identified a total of 83 posts, 12 of which were reported as the most severe tier. The identified posts were classified as hate speech (78%), sexism (21%) and homophobia (1%). 65% of these posts were directed at Women's Football, while 21% were directed at Players.
Michele Uva, UEFA director of Social & Environmental Sustainability
"UEFA will continue to tackle online abuse by activating concrete action across European football with our dedicated programme. Through Real Scars, the Outraged documentary series and toolkit on online abuse and the UEFA monitoring and remedying platform, we are increasing our attention to prevent abuse from happening.
Our aim is to fight all forms of abuse and discrimination in football by creating awareness, providing education, and monitoring and reporting online abuse across all UEFA competition finals and looking ahead throughout European football."
What else is UEFA doing to tackle online abuse?
The above-mentioned platform is one of three key pillars in a new Respect programme focused on tackling abuse, and works through a combination of automated scanning and human review.
Furthermore, the Real Scars campaign highlights the devastating effects of online abuse directed at football players, coaches and officials across social media platforms and educate them on how to best defend themselves against such abuse.
Last year, UEFA also released a new Outraged documentary series, which discusses discrimination and abuse, on UEFA.tv and was made available to our broadcast partners.
UEFA encourages everyone to join the fight against online abuse by reporting any abusive or discriminatory content to the social media platform on which it has been posted. Anyone that has fallen victim to online abuse or hate speech and is struggling with self-harm or suicidal thoughts is advised to consult a medical professional for support. If threats or comments bring a fear for personal safety and security, contact the police.