Twitter, TikTok, Telegram: social networks have become the El Dorado of illegal sports broadcasts

For several years now, social networks such as TikTok, Twitch, Twitter or Telegram have become reliable alternatives for watching illegal sports broadcasts. The 2022 World Cup, with a very low number of matches broadcast in clear, reinforces this phenomenon.

football world cup social networks
Credits: Pixabay

Previously, looking for a link to watch a football or basketball game for free (and illegally by extension) on the web could be like an obstacle course. You had to cross your fingers to find a link with an acceptable image quality, while avoiding the countless redirects to pornographic content or to obscure dating sites.

But for a few years now, this hunt for streaming sporting events has become a mere formality. In effect, a few minutes are enough to find a broadcast of a match on social networks like Twitter, Twitch or even Telegram and TikTok.

Proof of this is with the 2022 World Cup where two clicks are enough to find the broadcast of any meeting, including those reserved for BeIn Sports. On Telegram for example, there are groups by invitation which offer links of impeccable quality.

Social networks, the new means of illegal broadcasting for matches

In a report published in July 2022the French Public Authority for the Regulation of Audiovisual and Digital Communication (ARCOM) stated that “the piracy of sports content has increased in recent years, and illicit consumers of sports broadcasts mainly watch live streaming, but also via IPTV boxes and social networks”.

According to the institution resulting from the merger between the CSA and Hadopi, 26% of viewers of illegal sports broadcasts go through social networks. As Hervé Lemaire, director of LeakID, a company specializing in hunting illegal content, points out, users number in the hundreds of thousands. Thus, on important meetings of PSG or Real Madrid, he happened to see more than 300,000 spectators in total on different streams.

Of course, the 2022 World Cup only amplifies this phenomenon, with a very limited proportion of matches broadcast unencrypted on TF1. In total, only 28 matches out of 64 will be. To see the others legally, you must subscribe to a subscription at 15 euros per month on BeIn Sports. Result, some spectators do not hesitate to find illegal ways to follow the competition.

There is also another factor to consider. Indeed, ARCOM’s fight against traditional IPTV and streaming sites on the web is bearing fruit: more than 800 sites have been blocked since January 2022. Faced with the reduction in this offer, users therefore turn to broadcasts available on social networks. In addition, note that the successive dismissals and resignations at Twitter since the takeover by Elon Musk have favored the appearance of illegal streaming. “There is no one to do moderation and the sieve is full of holes”, explains Pascal Chevallier, media consultant for the consulting agency What’s Hot in the columns of France Info.

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