Still don’t believe that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry receive an unfair amount of hate? Investigators beg to differ — and they have the receipts to prove it!
According to reports, Bot Sentinel — a platform that tracks inauthentic Twitter accounts and trolls — published findings of its investigation into hateful activity on the social media platform focused on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on Tuesday, and what they discovered was that a coordinated “hate initiative” had been targeting the power couple.
Explaining that the probe was launched in October by analyzing 114,000 tweets related to Harry and Meg, Bot Sentinel noted:
“We used internal tools to categorize tweets based on sentiment and repetitiveness. We manually examined tweets for altered photos, deceptively edited videos, and other content our internal tools couldn’t automatically or accurately analyze.”
The results were alarming, to say the least: the company found that 83 accounts, backed by 187,631 followers, “were responsible for approximately 70% of the original and derivative hate content targeting Harry and Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex on Twitter,” the report stated. They shared:
“Using internal and 3rd party analytic tools, we estimate a combined unique potential reach of 17,000,000 users.”
After tracking more elements like retweets and mentions, investigators noticed the accounts were connected. The report added:
“Our research revealed these accounts were brazenly coordinating on the platform, and at least one account was openly recruiting people to join their hate initiative on Twitter.”
Previously, Twitter had suspended 40 percent of the primary 55 hate accounts. However, Bot Sentinel said the remaining accounts were using methods like including “parody” in their profile bios or using coded racist language to avoid detection.
To make matters even more disconcerting, the company said Twitter’s algorithm started to suggest “numerous hate accounts” to them after investigators began looking at anti-Sussex accounts. It claimed:
“After viewing two hate accounts, Twitter’s algorithm began suggesting numerous hate accounts. On multiple occasions, Twitter recommended we follow these hate accounts.”
The report concluded:
“Our research found that a relatively small number of single-purpose anti-Meghan and Harry accounts created and disseminated most of the hateful content on Twitter. However, the primary accounts had assistance that allowed their content to be repackaged and shared by accounts with a considerable following. We observed the primary accounts coordinating their activities and using various techniques to avoid detection. In short, the majority of the anti-Meghan and Harry activity wasn’t organic.”
In other words, the hate is real… but it’s really not!
Bot Sentinel founder Christopher Bouzy said the sharp change in activity from the apparent hate accounts after the report was published only served as more evidence that the hate was not organic, sharing on his own Twitter account:
“We observed a significant decrease in the activity targeting Meghan and Harry shortly after we published the report. If the activity had been organic, it is highly unlikely we would have witnessed such a sharp decrease in such a short period of time.”
He also made a point to distinguish between “a group of accounts who just say ‘mean things’” and the accounts they were referencing, writing:
“They are single-purpose accounts dedicated to creating and disseminating hateful and often fictitious content meant to deceive, and they openly coordinate on and off Twitter.”
The Sussexes have yet to comment on the report. In a statement to BuzzFeed News on Tuesday, a Twitter spokesperson said they are “actively investigating the information and accounts referenced in this report — we will take action on accounts that violate the Twitter Rules.”
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