Organized campaign targeted Harry and Meghan on Twitter: report
Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, were targeted for an organized hate campaign on Twitter, according to a report released by a Twitter analytics provider.
The report, released Tuesday by Bot Sentinel, examined over 114,000 tweets using hashtags and keywords related to the couple.
The company was able to isolate 83 total accounts that were responsible for roughly 70 percent of the original and derivative hate content targeting the royal couple. Fifty-five of the accounts were identified as primary hate accounts — meaning they originated content — and 28 as secondary hate accounts — meaning they mainly amplified content from the primary ones.
Bot Sentinel CEO Christopher Bouzy told Buzzfeed News that the hate campaign was unlike anything he’s seen before.
“There’s no motive,” Bouzy told the news outlet. “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.”
The accounts had over 187,000 followers combined and were estimated to have a potential reach of 17 million users on Twitter, Bot Sentinel found.
The report estimated that Twitter had previously suspended 40 percent of the primary accounts, which then used tactics to avoid suspension.
Some of the accounts put “parody” in their profiles, although they were not actually parody accounts, the report said. Others used coded racist language about Meghan, who is biracial, to fly under Twitter’s radar.
Harry and Meghan have been open about the impact that the media, as well as social media, have had on their lives, and the role they played in the Duke’s and Duchess’s decision to take a step back from royal duties. Meghan was treated particularly harshly by media in the United Kingdom.
Asked about the Bot Sentinel report, a Twitter spokesperson said the company has reviewed the accounts referenced and has taken action against four of them for violating its platform manipulation and spam policy.
“At this time, there’s no evidence of widespread coordination, the use of multiple accounts by single people, or other platform manipulation tactics,” the spokesperson said.