Motorsport’s governing body, the FIA, will utilise new AI technology to help stamp social media abuse across all categories, including Formula 1.
There has been a worrying rise in abuse directed towards fans, teams and drivers over the past few years, with fans on-site also being targeted at multiple Grands Prix in the 2022 season.
The series put out a video at the Hungarian GP in July featuring all 20 F1 drivers, FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem and F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali reaffirming their commitment to stamping social media abuse out as part of the Drive It Out campaign.
The FIA have now revealed a new partnership with Artificial Intelligence company Arwen “to help detect and reduce levels of toxic content.”
Trials have already been completed alongside the likes of Mercedes, Red Bull and Alpine, with positive results.
New FIA partnership
In their trial period of the AI technology, Mercedes found that toxic and unwanted comments were reduced by around 70% across their social media channels.
The end product was that “29.4% of followers felt more confident to comments and no longer put off by unsavoury content,” according to an FIA statement.
Speaking about the new initiative, FIA president ben Sulayem was positive about the opportunities the technology can afford.
“As the governing body, we draw criticism at times for the decisions we take in enforcing technical and sporting regulations. We respect that people are entitled to their opinion and we encourage free speech, but an increasing number of social media posts carry an unacceptable level of vitriol,” he explained.
“Some of that has been aimed at FIA staff and volunteers. I will always stand up for my employees, officials and volunteers.
“These people enable us to go racing in a safe and controlled environment. Without them, there would be no racing.
“We have also heard the views of Formula 1 drivers during recent drivers’ briefings at Grand Prix weekends.
“They have voiced their concerns over the issue and are committed to action. We are calling on the entire motor sport community to unite as one in this mission.
“Our campaign will build on the recent Drive It Out initiative. We must all unite to take action against abuse, harassment and hate speech.
“We must combat this blight on our sport. The expertise of Arwen.ai will be a key tool in this effort. The social media platform owners also have a role to play.”
An investigation has been launched into scenes in the Mexico City paddock at the recent Grand Prix, with drivers being crowded and harangued by fans.
What do Arwen say?
For their part, Arwen said it was “committed to tackling the ever-increasing issue of online hate speech.”
“No organisation or its employees should be subjected to abuse, which can have a detrimental impact both personally and professionally,” explained the company’s Matt McGory.
“We look forward to helping FIA take positive action by removing these posts across their social channels and not allowing toxicity to negatively impact the organisation and the motor sport community as a whole.
“Personally, I am proud to be extending our relationship in motor sport by partnering with the FIA.”