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A cruel Meghan and Harry hate campaign is officially under investigation

·2-min read

A cruel and coordinated hate campaign, with the intention of spreading misinformation about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, is being officially investigated by Twitter.

A new report from independent analysis firm, Bot Sentinel, unearthed that of 114,000 tweets about the couple, Meghan received 80% of the abuse, 70% of which came from 83 accounts (which all appeared to have the sole purpose of spreading misinformation about the Sussexes).

"Our analysis allowed us to isolate 55 single-purpose accounts we identified as the primary hate accounts and 28 secondary hate accounts that mainly amplified the primary accounts," the report explains. Combined, the accounts have a total of 187,631 followers, which Bot Sentinel have estimated will reach a "a combined unique potential reach of 17 million users".

Christopher Bouzy, Bot Sentinel's Chief Executive, told BuzzFeed News the anti-Meghan Twitter campaign was unlike anything the team had seen before. "There’s no motive," he said. "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."

Photo credit: Taylor Hill - Getty Images
Photo credit: Taylor Hill - Getty Images

Bouzy also added, "This campaign comes from people who know how to manipulate the algorithms, manipulate Twitter, stay under the wire to avoid detection and suspension. This level of complexity comes from people who know how to do this stuff, who are paid to do this stuff."

Now, Twitter have said they will investigate the accounts with a spokesperson telling press the platform is "actively investigating the information and accounts referenced in this report — we will take action on accounts that violate the Twitter Rules."

The darker side of social media is something that both the Duke and Duchess of Sussex has discussed publicly in the past, with Meghan saying that the reason she avoids the likes of Twitter and Instagram is for her "own self-preservation". The couple signed off from their accounts back in March 2020, when they officially exited their roles as senior working members of the royal family.

Prince Harry also penned an essay titled 'Social media is dividing us. Together, we can redesign it' for Fast Company, expressing his concerns for a world in which social media can easily turn toxic. The Duke said his fears have only intensified since becoming a father to Archie, 2, and now a daughter, Lilibet, four months.

He also expressed concern that social media is leading to more people becoming radicalised: "Social media’s own algorithms and recommendation tools can drive people down paths towards radicalism and extremism that they might not have taken otherwise."

He also touched upon 'fake news' and said better regulated systems need putting in place, to ensure the information that we consume is factually accurate. "There are billions of people right now – in the midst of a global pandemic – who rely on algorithmically-driven information feeds to make judgments about fact vs. fiction, about truth vs. lies.

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