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Football spurs new research project to tackle online hate

Dr Mark Doidge is teaming up with researchers in Ireland to explore how digital technologies can be used to reduce online expressions of hate.

Dr Mark Didge at a football matchDr Doidge – Principal Research Fellow in the University of Brighton’s School of Sport and Health Sciences – will collaborate with Dr Gary Sinclair from Dublin City University in a project entitled Tackling Online Hate in Football (TOHIF), which will examine online discourses to identify flashpoints and strategies that social media companies, policymakers and campaigners can then use to tackle expressions of hate driven by racism, sexism and sectarianism.

Football provides the project’s core case study, examining online discourses around European  Championships since 2008. Working with partner organisations committed to race equality, social justice and stamping out online hate, Dr Doidge and his collaborators will develop educational workshops, policies and specific machine learning procedures to identify and combat online hate on social media.

Mark Doidge said: “In light of the deluge of racism directed at England men’s team after the final of Euro 2020, this project is timely and provides the opportunity for real impact. Players are raising awareness of the abuse they receive online, and social media is playing a central role in this. This international collaboration will not only identify patterns of abuse, it will develop strategies to limit online abuse.”

Project partners include Kick It Out, Sport Against Racism Ireland, Kick it Out, Football Supporters Association, Football Association Wales and Sporting Equals.

AHR logoThe research will receive funding of £324,961 through the Fund for International Collaboration (FIC), delivered by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) – both part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Kerry Burnett • August 10, 2021

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