French Open players to be offered AI ‘bodyguard’ protection by tournament bosses

French Open organisers are set to offer their players protection from social media harassment during the tournament. The French Tennis Federation will offer special AI technology to players which will filter and block abusive messages across the likes of Instagram and Twitter.

Players competing at the French Open will have the option of using an online “bodyguard” to protect them from cyberbullying. The FFT announced the tool in an effort to protect the mental health of the competitors, with players often taking to social media to share the abuse they receive after a defeat – often from gamblers who lost money on them.

Both tennis officials and the players will be able to connect their accounts to technology developed by ahead of the tournament, and can keep it in place for at least one week after the French Open concludes.

“The mental health of the players is a priority for the Roland Garros tournament. We will not accept any form of violence at our tournament,” FFT director Caroline Flaissier said. “We are very proud to be the first grand slam tournament to offer players a solution that efficiently protects them against cyberbullying.

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“We want to protect the players from this damaging behaviour, to enable them to be in peak mental condition when they compete in the tournament.” If players opt in to use the technology, they can connect accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok and Discord.

Explaining how the Bodyguard technology would work, the FFT said: “It is an AI that performs moderation in real time. The comment is analysed in less than 200 milliseconds.

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“A team of linguists creates word structures to update the technology in real time from what is posted on social networks to generate a contextual analysis. The goal is to ensure that nothing is missed, while making sure that nothing is censored.”

French Open qualifying is already underway as of Monday, while the main draw begins on Sunday. Carlos Alcaraz and defending champion Iga Swiatek well be the top seeds in the men’s and women’s singles draws.

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