May 21, 2022

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Troll accounts targeting Meghan Markle ‘monetized hatred’ and circulated ‘conspiracy theories’

Troll accounts targeting Meghan Markle ‘monetized hatred’ and circulated ‘conspiracy theories’
A new report is claiming that several troll accounts worked on organising a hate campaign against Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, and enjoyed monetary benefits from it.Data analytics service Bot Sentinel recently released a new report on Tuesday regarding the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who have themselves voiced their concerns about the dangers…

A new report is claiming that several troll accounts worked on organising a hate campaign against Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, and enjoyed monetary benefits from it.

Data analytics service Bot Sentinel recently released a new report on Tuesday regarding the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who have themselves voiced their concerns about the dangers of spreading misinformation online. The report analysed how “single-purpose hate accounts have turned targeted harassment and coordinated hate campaigns into a lucrative hate-for-profit enterprise.”

As per the report, a network of YouTube channels focused on disparaging the Duchess of Sussex had garnered over 497 million views. This translated to an estimated $3.48million in total YouTube earnings. $494,730 of the total earnings was split between YankeeWally, MurkyMeg and According2taz, three of the top content creators, which had a combined 70+ million views.

The report noted that the same groups coordinated a hate campaign on Twitter as well, and cultivated a massive following by spreading conspiracy theories about the Duke and the Duchess of Sussex. It said, “Their efforts allowed them to interact with journalists and royal experts, who then, in some circumstances, amplified the falsehoods. The women leveraged their Twitter popularity to funnel their followers to their YouTube channels, where they would discuss the conspiracy theories they helped to manufacture.”

Twitter has suspended YankeeWally and MurkyMeg after Bot Sentinel published its report. The third major troll account According2taz is still active, but “Twitter’s reporting system has acknowledged she has violated its rules on multiple occasions, including for abuse and harassment.”

The recently-published report marks the third and final study by Bot Sentinel, which had released its first report on the matter in October last year. The first report had found out that around 70 percent of hateful comments about Harry and Meghan on Twitter originated from just 83 accounts.

It claimed that the troll accounts were using tactics to avoid suspension, including placing “parody” in their profiles. Meanwhile, some would use racist coded language about Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, to avoid detection.

“We also observed several accounts either lock or completely deactivate their profiles to preserve their accounts,” the report said.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at the Global Citizen Live festival in Central Park on September 25, 2021 in New York City AFP / Angela Weiss
AFP / Angela Weiss

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