Buzzfeed yesterday published an article about the results of a Twitter analytics report by Bot Sentinel confirming that there’s a targeted hate campaign against Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. This isn’t a revelation but it is a confirmation of what Harry and Meghan have been saying about their social media experience and what so many other people have already seen, even though their concerns have been minimised by certain members of the British media and presumably, and more hurtfully, members of the British royal family. Twitter is now investigating the accounts in question and has suspended a few of them.
As we have learned over the last few years, coordinated and nefarious social media campaigns have wreaked havoc not just online but in almost every corner of society, from politics to healthcare to education to finance to entertainment and culture, spreading disinformation and resulting in distrust and division. And everyone is susceptible to it, including people of influence like business and industry leaders, medical professionals, academics, celebrities, and journalists too.
That might be the next deep dive. Bot Sentinel has identified the mostly anonymous accounts that have been perpetuating this abuse, feeding off of each other to generate and amplify toxicity directed at the Sussexes, but if it’s true per their research that these people (and it would seem like they are indeed people and not bots) “use their combined 187,631 followers to fuel a campaign of negativity against Harry and Meghan” and that they “have a combined potential reach of at least 17 million Twitter users”, are you curious about who some of these 17 million Twitter users might be…and the impact that these messages have had on them and in turn whether or not they’ve used their mainstream platforms to propagate them? There are certain journalists, repeatedly critical of the Sussexes, for example, and cover the British royals in major British publications, who follow these accounts – or at least they did until yesterday. Their work shapes public opinion too, so whatever f-cksh-t that happens on social media is then transferred to legacy media, thereby legitimising the mess, in the same way that so many other harmful narratives have been legitimised now in our communities. What, if any, has been the relationship between this group of Twitter users who’ve been mobilising against Harry and Meghan and those in the mainstream media – and what, if any, is the impact?
To read Ellie Hall’s full coverage of the Harry and Meghan Twitter analysis head to Buzzfeed.
Yours in gossip,