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'Zero-tolerance': Six Nations' plan to tackle online abuse

NEWS: Six Nations Rugby takes a zero-tolerance approach to any form of discrimination, and in a bid to tackle hate speech and harmful content within its online community, is using advanced AI technology to filter, block, delete, and if needed, report cases.

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Arwen AI was founded in 2020 in the wake of online abuse directed at TV and sports personalities. It works by using Artificial Intelligence to detect and remove spam, hateful comments, or unwanted and harmful content.

Through a combination of algorithms, developed by Arwen, and those available on the open market, the system continually scans for content, in 29 languages, to immediately detect harmful content.

Six Nations organizers will be using the Arwen AI technology with immediate effect, and throughout the Nations Series, with all six unions given access to the tool as well, so that rugby can come together to collectively tackle online hate.

Each user of the technology can set bespoke filters to ensure the algorithms operate with the greatest level of accuracy. Any content that matches the criteria and contradicts the Six Nations Rugby community guidelines, is captured, and flagged, allowing immediate action to be taken, and protect the online community.

In a recent study conducted by the Professional Football Association, 40 percent of Premier League players were reported to have been the subject of racist abuse via social media, with Marcus Rashford appearing as the second most abused person on the planet. For fans, a similar study identified that just 2 percent of hateful content had the potential to alienate nearly 40 percent of an audience.

This highlights the urgent need to protect all members of the sports community from harmful online content, this includes its players, teams, and fans.

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Sarah Beattie, Chief Marketing Officer of Six Nations Rugby, commented: “Rugby is for everyone, and we have a responsibility to make the sport as inclusive and accessible as possible. Tackling online abuse and forms of harmful content is an important step to ensure this.

“By using the AI technology developed by Arwen, and offering this to our six unions, the aim is to collectively protect our existing online community, and welcome new members to join, with the confidence that rugby is taking action to make the game open to all and operates with a zero-tolerance approach to any form of discrimination.”

Matthew McGrory, CEO of Arwen AI, added: “Arwen AI is committed to protecting athletes, celebrities, brands, and everyday users of social media from rising levels of online toxicity and abuse.

“We’re therefore incredibly proud to partner with Six Nations Rugby as part of their drive to tackle hate speech and harmful content within its online community.

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“We’re looking forward to working together to create a positive online environment in which teams, players and fans can engage with each other during such an exciting time for the sport.”

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