Meghan Markle is certainly no stranger to criticism.
From the moment that her relationship with Prince Harry went public, Meghan has been the target of aggressive bullying and harassment from an international army of bitter trolls.
For a long time, the assumption was that these accounts were random, fueled by disparaging media reports and launched from all corners of the globe.
(While it was always understood that the bulk of the Meg hate was coming from the UK, people all over the world love to comment on royal family feuds.)
It’s possible that the royals and the worst vultures in the British tabloid media looked at all of these hateful anti-Meg tweets and assumed that the people were on their side.
But now, the truth has come out, and it seems that the vast majority of those rage-posts came from a few dozen angry Karens.
Analytics service Bot Sentinel released a report on Tuesday examining over 114,000, and the study painted a very surprising picture:
It seems that 70 percent of the anti-Meghan tweets originated from just 83 accounts.
Yes, 83 accounts.
Your great-aunt Mildred who types her Google searches into the status update field probably has more than 83 friends on Facebook.
In other words, that’s a very, very (we probably need a few thousand more “veries” in there) tiny percentage of 186 million accounts on Twitter.
So what does this mean, exactly?
Well for starters, the British media campaign to turn the public against Meghan seems to have failed spectacularly, as most people on Twitter have no interest in hating on the Duchess.
But it also means that the Meg-bashing accounts have no agenda other than spreading hate against the Duchess of Sussex.
(When that many tweets come from that few accounts, you know they’re not tweeting about anything else.)
Furthermore, it means that these accounts are using shadowy tactics to ensure that their content reaches a massive global audience.
“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,” the report said.
“However, the primary accounts had assistance that allowed their content to be repackaged and shared by accounts with a considerable following.”
In response to the study, a Twitter spokesperson told Buzzfeed newa that the company is “actively investigating the information and accounts referenced in this report — we will take action on accounts that violate the Twitter Rules.”
Bot Sentinel CEO Christopher Bouzy told the outlet that this activity is unlike anything the company has encountered before, and it suggests a level of sophistication that one rarely sees from accounts run by individuals.
“This campaign comes from people who know how to manipulate the algorithms, manipulate Twitter, stay under the wire to avoid detection and suspension,” Bouzy said.
“This level of complexity comes from people who know how to do this stuff, who are paid to do this stuff.”
Yes, this thing goes deeper than just a whole lot of tweets coming from very few accounts.
Someone has a vested interest in swaying public opinion against Meghan, and while we’re sure that person can be found either within the British press or the royal family, we might never know who the actual culprit is.
“There’s a difference between free speech and literally harassing someone,” Bouzy said.
He noted that 40% of the accounts listed have been previously suspended by Twitter, indicating that their goal is to spread as much vitriol as possible until they’re permanently banned.
At which time, the users most likely create new accounts with new handles.
“What these accounts are doing — they’re really flying under the wire,” Bouzy said.
“They’re right at the edge. They’re doing things our technology isn’t going to catch.”
So the next time someone tries to tell you that Meghan is a divisive figure and public opinion about her is split, you might want to point out to them the ways in which anonymous manipulators are pulling the public’s strings.
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