Upsetting revelations. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were the targets of a coordinated social media campaign to spread hate about them, according to a new report.
The Duke of Sussex, 37, and his wife, 40, were the subjects of focused negative Twitter activity, per analysis by the platform Bot Sentinel. The company, which tracks the activity of fake social media accounts, released their findings in a report published on Tuesday, October 26.
According to Bot Sentinel, just 83 Twitter accounts — with a combined follower count of only 187,631 users — were responsible for 70 percent of the negative tweets about the couple that they analyzed. The follower number is small, but the company determined that the accounts still had a reach of about 17 million Twitter users.
“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,” the report continued. “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 Suits alum and her husband have been outspoken about the way online hate affected them, especially before they stepped down as senior royals in March 2020. The couple, who tied the knot in May 2018, share son Archie, 2, and daughter Lili, 4 months.
“I’m told that, in 2019, I was the most trolled person in the entire world, male or female,” Meghan said during an October 2020 episode of the “Teenager Therapy” podcast. “Now, eight months of that, I wasn’t even visible. I was on maternity leave or with a baby. But what was able to just be manufactured and churned out, it’s almost unsurvivable. That’s so big you can’t even think about what that feels like.”
The Duchess of Sussex previously made headlines in October 2019 when a reporter asked her if she was feeling “OK” and she replied that she wasn’t.
“Look, any woman, especially when they’re pregnant, you’re really vulnerable and so that was made really challenging,” the California native said during Harry & Meghan: An African Journey. “And then when you have a newborn, you know … and especially as a woman, it’s really, it’s a lot. … Thank you for asking, because not many people have asked if I’m OK, but it’s a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes.”
Last year, while participating in an ABC special about the Time 100 list, the Sussexes urged viewers to register to vote, specifically citing “online negativity” as a reason to make your voice heard.
“As we approach this November, it’s vital that we reject hate speech, misinformation and online negativity,” Harry said during the special, which aired in September 2020. “What we consume, what we are exposed to and what we engage with online has a real effect on all of us.”
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