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FIA speaks to social media platforms about online abuse – Motorsport Week

FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem said the organization was in talks with social media platforms to target the ongoing problem of online abuse.

The problem was recently highlighted when female steward Silvia Bellot received death threats after the United States Grand Prix last month.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Ben Sulayem condemned the mistreatment of people through social media platforms.

“Recently, one of the FIA’s female commissioners, Silvia Bellot, received death threats,” he said.

“It is absolutely deplorable that a volunteer like Silvia or one of our marshals and officials, who give their time to allow us to race, should be the object of such hatred.

“Indeed, a number of FIA employees have also been the target of harassing and hateful messages over the past few years. It is completely unacceptable that our volunteers, officials and employees are being subjected to such extreme abuse.

“It has no place in our sport. It has a devastating effect on our mental health and that of our loved ones. I will always stand up for my staff and volunteers.

“And let me be clear – without these people there would be no racing.

“We have to ask ourselves who would want to become a senior civil servant in this environment? The reality is obvious – if this continues it will destroy our sport.”

Ben Sulayem has confirmed that the FIA ​​is now speaking to social media platforms as it tries to stamp out abuse.

In addition, he pointed out that he “is commissioning research through FIA University on digital hate and toxic sports-specific commentary”, while also partnering with Arwen.ai “to use their AI software to detect and eradicate abusive content on our own channels”.

Ben Sulayem said he would speak more fully about the matter at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix later this month.

Hamilton and Verstappen speak out against social media abuse

Speaking after the recent Mexico City Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen condemned the antics of individuals on social media.

Hamilton even encouraged people to quit the platforms altogether.

“I think social media is getting more and more toxic over the years,” he said. “I think we should probably get through this eventually.

“So many people…mental health is such an important thing right now. I know so many people who read their comments and what people say and it hurts.

“Fortunately, I don’t read this stuff, but media platforms absolutely need to do more to protect people, especially young children and women. But at the moment they don’t, so I think it will continue.

Verstappen added: “It’s not great that they’re allowed to write this stuff, so hopefully we can find some kind of algorithm that stops people from being keyboard warriors, because those kind of people, they will never come to you and say those things in front of your face.

“They’re sitting in front of their desk or whatever it is at home, upset, frustrated, and they can write whatever they want because the platform lets you.”


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