Kurt Bayer

Kurt Bayer is an APNZ reporter based in Christchurch.

App keeps stars from selfie-destruction

Aaron Smith was 'hugely embarrassed' after his naked selfie was leaked.
Aaron Smith was 'hugely embarrassed' after his naked selfie was leaked.

A filter that blocks sports stars from sending dodgy messages or photos on social media, saving them from potential scandals, has been welcomed by New Zealand player agents.

The technology, loaded as an app on to the player's phone, picks up red-flagged words, phrases, or images that may be offensive or controversial. It sends an alert to the sports club administrators, or the player's agent or manager for checking. They can then delete the potentially inflammatory or embarrassing posting and avoid a PR disaster.

Most professional sporting organisations and governing bodies, including the Warriors and the NRL, educate players on the dangers of social media and enforce best practice and policies. But it still doesn't prevent players from posting things that land them in hot water.

Earlier this year, Warriors star Konrad Hurrell was fined $5,000 by his club after a video emerged on Instagram that appeared to show him in a compromising position with Shortland Street actress Teuila Blakely. Warriors media and communications manager Richard Becht said the club keeps a close eye on social media developments.

"We're certainly interested in resources which have the ability to improve our processes and are always keen to explore these, dependent on budgetary constraints."

Players agents in New Zealand welcomed the technology.

"I'm definitely interested in this to help protect my players," said Stan Martin of Sport Vision, which represents Warriors players including Ben Henry, Bill Tupou, and Carlos Tuimavave. "I tell most of our guys to not do any of that social media stuff but most have Facebook, Snapchat or Twitter."

Daniel Kane, agent with Esportif International which represents rugby stars such as All Blacks Jerome Kaino and Aaron Cruden, welcomed it as a "positive initiative".

"It sounds like it definitely has merits," he said. "Once a tweet or a post is sent out and potentially it's not the right one, then it can be deleted or an apology can be made, it's not easily erased from people's memories."

The technology, developed by Australian firm Kudos Knowledge, can also black out player's phones during high-risk periods, for example midnight to 5am.

The technology has been developed over two years and is undergoing trials.


Social media gaffes


Ex-Miss NZ Ella Langsford, Shortland Streeter Teuila Blakely and All Black Aaron Smith all have cause for Snapchat regrets.

• All Black Aaron Smith was "hugely embarrassed" earlier this year when a naked photo of him was captured as a screen-shot after being sent through Snapchat.

• Todd Carney was sacked by the Cronulla Sharks two weeks ago after a lewd photo of him was posted on social media.

• Last year, All Black Israel Dagg apologised for using "fag" in a tweet to Blues player Brendon O'Connor.

• Warriors centre Konrad Hurrell was fined $5,000 by his club in May after a video appeared to show him in a compromising position with Shortland Street actress Teuila Blakely.

- APNZ

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