Maguire & Ronaldo most abused players of Twitter - report

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Manchester United pair Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Maguire have received more Twitter abuse than any other Premier League footballers, a new study has found. UK communications regulator Ofcom analysed over two million tweets during the first half of the 2021-22 season and discovered close to 60,000 abusive messages.

The hate was overwhelmingly concentrated on a select few individuals, with half of the unpleasant messages directed at just 12 players - eight of whom played for Man Utd.

Who are the most abused Premier League footballers on Twitter?

Player

No. of abusive tweets

Club

Cristiano Ronaldo

12,520

Manchester United

Harry Maguire

8,954

Manchester United

Marcus Rashford

2,557

Manchester United

Bruno Fernandes

2,464

Manchester United

Harry Kane

2,127

Tottenham

Fred

1,924

Manchester United

Jesse Lingard

1,605

Manchester United

Jack Grealish

1,538

Manchester City

Paul Pogba

1,446

Manchester United

David de Gea

1,394

Manchester United

Ronaldo was found to have received the most online abuse during the period analysed. Overall, the forward was sent 12,520 abusive messages between August 13, 2021 and January 24, 2022.

Maguire was a close second with 8,954 such tweets, while teammates Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes were third and fourth, respectively.

England captain Harry Kane was the the most abused non-United player and the fifth overall, with Fred, Jesse Lingard, Jack Grealish, Paul Pogba and David de Gea rounding off the top 10.

The study also set out to determine what causes an increase in abusive tweets being sent to Premier League footballers.

A spike was noticed on November 7 when Maguire posted an apology to United supporters following a 2-0 derby-day defeat to Manchester City at Old Trafford. Following this, just shy of 3,000 abusive messages were sent - 10.6 per cent of the total on that particular day.

What can be done to stop footballers receiving abuse?

The report found that 7% of footballers analysed received Twitter abuse every day, and Ofcom's group director for broadcasting and online content Kevin Bakhurst said that both tech firms and supporters needed to do more to curb it.

"Social media firms needn't wait for new laws to make their sites and apps safer for users," he said.

"When we become the regulator for online safety, tech companies will have to be really open about the steps they're taking to protect users. We will expect them to design their services with safety in mind.

"Supporters can also play a positive role in protecting the game they love. Our research shows the vast majority of online fans behave responsibly and, as the new season kicks off, we're asking them to report unacceptable, abusive posts whenever they see them."

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