Arsenal midfield star Granit Xhaka suffered racial abuse from the club’s season-ticket holders, an investigation has claimed.
According to a month-long study Xhaka and other Premier League players were targeted as analysts aim to reveal the ‘true life identities’ of prolific abusers on social media.
Analysis by Signify, a data science company, has revealed 16 instances of targeted racist abuse towards Xhaka, including posts from accounts who ‘self-identify as Arsenal season-ticket holders’, in December last year.
Arsenal have told Sky Sports News they take the “strongest possible action” against any abuser that is linked directly to their season ticket or membership database.
The study has also revealed homophobic abuse towards Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin.
Analysts found 52 account users involved with online hate against Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger identified as season-ticket holders of rival clubs. Of those, 25 individuals were identified as making ‘problematic’ posts, which included ‘aggressive sentiment towards Rudiger, directed at him alone’.
Rudiger revealed he suffered “immense” racist abuse on social media following the sacking of Frank Lampard last month.
“Just as technology has driven this problem, developments in artificial intelligence can now be part of the solution,” Jonathan Hirshler, Signify chief executive, said.
“Our technology can scan millions of pieces of content and identify the most abusive using publicly available data. We pair this with our open source investigation capability and in more cases than not, we can also verify the ‘true life’ identities of prolific abusers who hide their real profiles.”
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