Most of the Harry-and-Meghan hate you see on Twitter comes from a relatively small number of accounts, according to Bot Sentinel. The Twitter analytics service has published a report examining activity on the website related to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and found that around 70 percent of the hateful and negative comments about the couple originated from 83 accounts. That signifies targeted harassment against the Sussexes, mostly against Meghan Markle.
Bot Sentinel CEO Christopher Bouzy told BuzzFeed News that the anti-Meghan campaign on the website isn’t like anything his team has ever seen before. Why? Because there’s no motive. It’s not like the #StopTheSteal movement that aims to overturn the results of the 2020 US Presidential Elections. “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,” he said.
And by “people,” he means actual people. The accounts aren’t bots, but actual users who know how to manipulate the platform’s algorithms. They avoid detection and avoid being banned for violating Twitter’s Terms of Service, for instance, by pairing negative comments about Harry and Meghan with positive ones about William and Kate. “This level of complexity comes from people who know how to do this stuff, who are paid to do this stuff,” Bouzy said.
Bot Sentinel sampled 114,000 tweets with hashtags and keywords related to the Sussexes, such as #HarryandMeghan and #MeghanMarkle. In the end, it identified a total of 55 accounts to be the ones primarily responsible for negative content against the Sussexes, while the rest (28 accounts) were mostly used to amplify the content they produced. Bouzy called the content they generate “organic hate,” which can fly under the radar and evade detection by automated systems.
According to BuzzFeed News, Twitter has already suspended four of the accounts named in the report, while six more set their profiles to private.
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