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Indian Wells enlists FBI help to monitor social media abuse of players

Players will be able to consult officials on site if they have any issues or receive any threats

Zuma/Panoramic

The fight against the abuse of players on social media just moved up a notch or two.

The FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) will be on site at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, ready to respond to any threats or abuse players receive via their social media channels.

“We would like to inform you that the FBI will be present at this year’s BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells to monitor and address any Social Media abuse or threats aims at players,” a message to all players and support teams read.

Players and support groups on site in Indian Wells are encouraged to contact officials should they have any concerns or if they wish to discuss anything related.

Tennis Majors understands that the FBI presence was a tournament-led initiative and that the FBI has been on site at other sporting events in the United States.

Abuse of players a rising problem

The abuse of players on social media has been an increasing problem in recent years, with everyone from Sloane Stephens to Daniil Medvedev, Naomi Osaka to Madison Keys outlining the abuse they have received and criticising social media companies for not doing more to stop it.

American Shelby Rogers described the perils of social media at the recent US Open, saying she knew she would receive some after losing to eventual champion Emma Raducanu in the fourth round, having knocked out world No 1 Ash Barty the round before.

“It’s a big part of marketing now,” she said. ” We have contracts, we have to post certain things,” Rogers said. “I don’t know, you could probably go through my profile right now, I’m probably a fat pig and, you know, words that I can’t say right now.

Obviously we appreciate the spotlight in those moments. But then, you know, you have today and I’m going to have nine million death threats and whatnot,” Rogers said. “It’s very much polarising, one extreme to the other very quickly.”

Roger Federer outlined the dangers of social media last week, in an interview with British GQ. “For every 10 nice comments there’s always one negative comment and, of course, that is the one you focus on. It’s a horrible situation.”

The WTA and BNP Paribas Open were both contacted but have yet to respond.

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