Twitter, Telegram, illegal streaming of football matches difficult to counter


All you had to do was type a few keywords into the Twitter search bar to find the Champions League football match between Paris-Saint-Germain and Juventus on Tuesday evening. The match was broadcast by the pay channels RMC Sport and Canal +. But thousands of Internet users have chosen to follow the meeting for free, live video and in correct quality, on social networks. Finding the match was disconcertingly easy: a live stream was even accessible via the hashtag #PSGJuve. Because since the beginning of the year, streaming websites specializing in the retransmission of football matches have been less accessible. A law that came into force at the beginning of the year makes it possible to block them. But many Internet users have taken to social networks to continue to follow sporting events.

Direct Twitter (too) easy to access

At halftime, we found that 50,000 spectators were following PSG’s first Champions League match via a Twitter account. Another live has nearly 6,000 views, more than double for another. These figures were probably boosted by the MyCanal bug, broadcaster of the meeting, preventing subscribers from legally following the meeting.

Some Twitter accounts visible Tuesday evening.
Some Twitter accounts visible Tuesday evening.
© Radio France
-Twitter

In theory, Twitter can block these live streams, which was the case on Tuesday evening. But the live was directly revived in another tweet a few minutes later. We’ve seen accounts with high followings that have been banned in recent weeks by Twitter. But obviously, there are still holes in the racket. For example, we were able to follow the second half without interruption, and in good quality. Twitter also acts as an intermediary for those wishing to watch the match illegally. Links to Telegram messaging are posted.

45,000 viewers on a Telegram link

By following these links, we then came across a live stream, followed by more than 45,000 spectators. Within minutes, we were able to join nearly a dozen different conversations to watch the game. Other meetings are proposed. Football is not the only sport concerned, there is also tennis, rugby, Formula 1 etc. Contacted by France Inter, Twitter France had not responded at the time of publication on Wednesday.

Different conversations where it is possible to find links to follow Champions League and Ligue 1 matches.
Different conversations where it is possible to find links to follow Champions League and Ligue 1 matches.
-Telegram

723 sites blocked since January

« Telegram is a real subject, the dialogue is not easy », we recognize the side of Arcom, unlike Twitter, which would be quicker to remove illegal content. The audiovisual policeman is one of the main players in the fight against piracy and is leading the battle against streaming sites. For proof: since the beginning of the year, a law allows sports channels to block illicit platforms.

Its effectiveness can be measured with a few figures, transmitted by Arcom. In all, 723 sites have been rendered inaccessible since the beginning of the year, such as Sportlemon.tv, Footlive.me, Channelstream.es, Live.tv. The audience for illegal sites has dropped in recent months. In June, 1.1 million Internet users visited live streaming sites, twice as many as in January. According to Arcom, 54% of Internet users faced with a blockage did not go to another service.

76% fewer spectators in one year for Ligue 1

Nine months after the entry into force of the law « relating to the regulation and protection of access to cultural works in the digital age », the system is well established. The rights holders of sport (football, tennis, rugby leagues, etc.) and broadcasters (Canal +, RMC Sport, BeIN) seize a judge to ask them to block a certain number of services which broadcast the competition. Internet service providers, such as SFR, Free and Orange, take over and block sites that broadcast illegal streaming. Between February 2021 and February 2022, the illicit audience decreased by 76% for Ligue 1 and 77% for the Champions League. Even mirror sites, these complete replicas of a web page, pass there. But Twitter and Telegram remain a blind spot. Marseille fans could take advantage of it on Wednesday to watch their team’s first match in the Champions League.



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