Speed Reads

'hate network'

Report identifies Twitter accounts 'brazenly coordinating' to target Meghan and Harry

A new analysis of Twitter data has found that a small number of accounts were responsible for a majority of hateful tweets targeting Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. 

The analytics service Bot Sentinel released a report on Tuesday examining over 114,000 tweets about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, finding only 83 accounts were responsible for about 70 percent of hateful tweets about them, BuzzFeed News reports.

"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." 

The report also said accounts that were part of this "hate network" were "brazenly coordinating on the platform" in apparent violation of Twitter's rules, "and at least one account was openly recruiting people to join their hate initiative on Twitter." Forty percent of the primary accounts had previously been suspended by Twitter. 

Bot Sentinel CEO Christopher Bouzy told BuzzFeed News that as far as the "motive" for this campaign goes, "your guess is as good as ours," asking, "Are these people who hate her? Is it racism? Are they trying to hurt [Harry and Meghan's] credibility?" A Twitter spokesperson, meanwhile, told BuzzFeed it was "actively investigating the information and accounts referenced in this report," vowing to "take action on accounts that violate the Twitter Rules." 

Harry and Meghan, who stepped back from the royal family in 2020, have spoken out about what they described as a "crisis of hate" on social media. "This isn't solely a mental health or emotional well-being problem," said Meghan. "This is a human problem. And what's happening to all of us online is affecting us deeply offline." Harry has also said racist attacks against Meghan were a "large part" of their reason for leaving the U.K.