By Claire Gordon • 27 October 2021 • 21:07
"DSC_3441" (CC BY 2.0) by Genevieve719
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan, have often said that toxic messages from social media are a large factor in their decision to stop back from royal duties. Now an analytics service has discovered that there is an organised hate campaign solely about the couple.
Bot Sentinel, a Twitter analytics service, released a report based on tweet activity relating to the Sussexes. Looking at more than 114,000 tweets, they have revealed a huge amount of targeted harassment of Meghan, and the 83 accounts that are responsible for around 70% of that content.
The report found that the majority of the misinformation and hateful messages about the couple came from a very small number of accounts. It seemed that the sole purpose of these accounts is to tweet negatively about them. Between the accounts, there are 187,631 followers that actively retweet the content produced.
A spokesperson for Twitter spoke to Buzzfeed News and said they “are actively investigating the information and accounts referenced in this report – we will take action on accounts that violate the Twitter rules.”
The couple currently keeps themselves and their charitable foundation and production company, Archewell, off all social media. Harry said in an interview that he and Meghan “will revisit social media when it feels right for us – perhaps when we see more meaningful commitments to change or reform.”
This hate campaign is unprecedented says the CEO of Bot sentinel, Christopher Bouzy. “There’s no motive,” he said, unlike other Twitter campaigns that he has analyzed. “Are these people who hate her? Is it racism? Are they trying to hurt [Harry and Meghan’s] credibility? Your guess is as good as ours.”
What he does know, however, is that this hate campaign is not run by bots. “This campaign comes from people who know how to manipulate the algorithms, manipulate Twitter, stay under the wire to avoid detection and suspension,” he said. “This level of complexity comes from people who know how to do this stuff, who are paid to do this stuff.”
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