Online hate targeting Prince Harry, Meghan Markle comes from a small number of users, new report says
Meghan Markle has been the target of hate-fueled online harassment for years – and a recent investigation has found that a small handful of people were behind this, using social media to propel violent racist and sexist messages to reach millions of people.
Bot Sentinel, a platform created by Christopher Bouzy that works to help fight misinformation and targeted harassment on Twitter, To published its findings after announcing last week that he would be reviewing Meghan Markle hates accounts on Twitter. The investigation by nature also extended to hate accounts targeting Prince Harry.
Analyzing 114,000 tweets with Bot Sentinel’s internal tools, he determined that 55 single-use accounts (identified as primary hate accounts) and 28 secondary hate accounts (which helped amplify primary accounts further) accounted for 70% of all original hateful content targeting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. This content could potentially reach 17,000,000 users, according to the report.
“Our research revealed that a relatively small number of anti-Meghan and Harry single-use accounts created and posted most hateful content on Twitter,” the report preview reads.
“However, the main accounts received support that allowed their content to be repackaged and shared by accounts with a considerable number of subscribers,” the report adds. “We observed that the main accounts coordinated their activities and used various techniques to avoid detection. In short, the majority of anti-Meghan and Harry activity was not organic.
The results illustrate a growing trend apparent across all platforms and in disinformation campaigns, where a small number of users can generate the majority of misleading content.
For example, the Center for Countering Digital Hate revealed in May that it discovered that 12 accounts – nicknamed the “Dozen of disinformation”– were responsible for 65% of disinformation and lies about vaccines disseminated on social networks.
The Duchess of Sussex has been the relentless target of disinformation and hate speech since entering the world stage in 2016, after it was officially confirmed that she was dating Prince Harry.
At the time, the prince issued a statement via Kensington Palace condemning the “wave of abuse and harassment” that Meghan had faced by the British media and “the outright sexism and racism of the trolls of the social media”.
And after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced in January 2020 that they were stepping down as active members of the Royal Family, HuffPost UK’s Nadine White exclusively revealed findings that showed Meghan was being targeted by hundreds. and hundreds of racist and sexist tweets after the announcement. .
The study, which was conducted by digital journalism analysts at the University of Sunderland for HuffPost UK, provided examples of serious abuse targeting the former ‘Suits’ actor.
“There will be many more uncaptured tweets in the study, as racism and misogyny are often expressed in more subtle terms that do not use overtly abusive language,” said Dr. John Price, senior lecturer in journalism in Sunderland, at HuffPost UK at the time, adding that “the large amount of abuse captured in these results is surprising.”
“This shows that some aspect of social media, such as Twitter, has become a haven for people wishing to express their hatred against women,” he added.
Meghan spoke of the ‘almost insurmountable’ amount of hatred she faced while on maternity leave for her first child.
“I’m told that in 2019 I was the most trolled person in the whole world male or female,” the Duchess said in a joint interview with her husband Prince Harry on the “Therapy for adolescents”Podcast in October 2020.
“Eight months later, I wasn’t even visible. I was on maternity leave with a baby, ”Meghan said. “But what could be made and produced is almost impossible to survive.”
“It’s so big you can’t even think about what it looks like,” the royal added.
In court records last year, lawyers for the Sussexes said Meghan was also the target of “hundreds of thousands of inaccurate articles” and was left “unprotected” by the Royal Family during her pregnancy.
Tackling disinformation and hate speech online has been a primary focus of Harry and Meghan’s Archewell Foundation, along with advocacy for social media to become a healthier place.
The couple – and the foundation – currently have no active social media accounts.