Wimbledon using AI to protect players from online death threats


Wimbledon is protecting players from online death threats and abuse with artificial intelligence.

Abusive messages directed at players across social media will be flagged by the tournament’s AI tool, creating data that can be used by police to catch online trolls.

Japan’s Naomi Osaka, pictured at Wimbledon in 2019, has been trolled on social media.

Japan’s Naomi Osaka, pictured at Wimbledon in 2019, has been trolled on social media.Credit: AP

Naomi Osaka, Japan’s four-time winner in grand slam tournaments, was subjected to 32,000 abusive tweets (now X) over the space of 12 months, according to a 2021 study that found she was the most abused player online at the time.

Osaka, the former world No.1, and Emma Raducanu, the British former US Open champion, have both previously admitted to deleting social media apps from their phones following tournament defeats.

On Thursday, Harriet Dart, Britain’s No.2 women’s player, said she rarely uses social media because of the level of “hate” directed at her online.

Speaking after her victory over rival British player Katie Boulter, she said: “I’m sure today, if I open one of my apps, regardless [of] if I won, I’d have a lot of hate as well.”

Harriet Dart, pictured in Sydney last year, says there’s a lot of “hate” directed at her on social media.

Harriet Dart, pictured in Sydney last year, says there’s a lot of “hate” directed at her on social media.Credit: Getty Images

The Threat Matrix software used by the All England Lawn Tennis Club this year combs players’ social media profiles and reports any offensive content to the website’s moderators.

Players can also have the tool monitor direct messages sent to them over Instagram, X, Facebook and TikTok.



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