Almost 14,000 online social media posts relating to UEFA Euro 2016, posted over one week, have made reference to the public concern for security at this year’s tournament, according to new research by Crisp Thinking, experts in social media risk defence.
“With the majority of European cities on high alert for terrorism it is unsurprising that the wider web and social media are reflecting this concern,” said Caroline Skipsey, Head of Social Media Risk & Reputation at Crisp Thinking. “We’re now seeing law enforcement take action based on social media posts, which is increasingly being used as a source of intelligence. Tournaments such as Euro 2016 have always attracted discussion and speculation on attacks, but the volumes that we are seeing this year are unprecedented – although this is also related to the larger user base that social media platforms now have than with a larger perceived threat.”
The research, which was conducted using the Crisp Thinking Cover service, reviewed all posts made on social channels and the wider web over the past week. Out of nearly 25,000 posts relating to Euro 2016, the top five negative terms used on social media have related to terror. 5,936 (23.8%) included a reference to “ISIS,” while 3,138 (12.6%) mentioned “attack.” Other words that social media users utilised included plot, terrorism, target and terror.
“Public concern over a terrorist attack taking place at Euro 2016 has taken over as the biggest concern this year,” Skipsey said. “During previous sporting events, including Euro 2012, locally organised violence by hooligans and counterfeit ticket sales were much higher on the list of priorities. But potential terrorist attacks becoming a central talking point online is unsurprising considering recent events in France, Belgium and Turkey, which has resulted in threat levels being raised across Europe.
“Whilst the risk categories for this year’s tournament remain similar to previous years, the growth of the social audience in the past four years has resulted in significantly higher volumes of content to monitor.”
Social media has also resulted in rising challenges for Euro 2016 organisers in the form of counterfeit ticket sales. The research by Crisp Thinking also found 23 Facebook pages dedicated to selling Euro 2016 tickets, 13 of which are using official tournament logos. While the sale of counterfeit tickets has always been an issue in the world of sports, 2016 has seen a sharp increase in the amount of unofficial ticket sales taking place over social media.
This year has also seen a similar increase in the amount of fans sharing illegal online streaming services. As a result, more people are expected to watch the matches on their PCs and portable devices than on their televisions.