- A Twitter analytics service reviewed 114,000 tweets about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
- The study found that 83 Twitter accounts were responsible for 70% of the hate content directed at the couple.
- Twitter removed 40% of the hate accounts, but some used “racist coded language” to avoid suspension.
New data revealed that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were targeted with coordinated harassment on Twitter.
Bot Sentinel, a Twitter analysis service, launched an investigation that analyzed 114,000 tweets about Prince Harry, 37, and Meghan Markle, 40, uncovering that a large majority of the attacks were aimed at the Duchess.
According to the study, the attacks increased in the months following the couple’s announcement that they would be taking a “step back” as senior members of the royal family.
“We observed the primary accounts coordinating their activities and using various techniques to avoid detection,” the report said. “In short, the majority of the anti-Meghan and Harry activity wasn’t organic.”
Bot Sentinel discovered that the online hate directed at the couple came from a relatively small number of accounts. It identified 55 “primary hate accounts” and 28 “secondary hate accounts” that often amplified the primary account’s content.
“Combined with the help of their 187,631 followers, these accounts were responsible for approximately 70% of the original and derivative hate content targeting Harry and Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex on Twitter,” the report stated.
The tweets could potentially reach 17,000,000 Twitter users, the report continued.
Data found in the study noted that Twitter previously removed 40% of the primary accounts and found that these accounts often used tactics to avoid suspension. Some accounts placed the word “parody” in their profiles, while others used “racist coded language” about Markle to avoid detection.
Bot Sentinel reported that the primary accounts didn’t limit their content to Twitter. Some accounts shared links to YouTube channels, Instagram accounts, and private blogs based on the royal couple.
“It is our opinion the accounts included in this report are violating Twitter’s rules on platform manipulation and spam, abuse/harassment, and publishing private information,” the report stated.
A Twitter representative told BuzzFeed News that the platform is “actively investigating the information and accounts referenced in this report – we will take action on accounts that violate the Twitter Rules.”
Representatives for Bot Sentinel, Twitter, and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Markle and Harry previously spoke out against online harassment. In January 2021, they quit social media because of online hate. Harry later spoke to Fast Company about the online harassment aimed at Markle, with whom he shares two children.
“I was really surprised to witness how my story had been told one way, my wife’s story had been told one way, and then our union sparked something that made the telling of that story very different,” Harry told the outlet.
He continued: “That false narrative became the mothership for all of the harassment you’re referring to. It wouldn’t have even begun had our story just been told truthfully.”
The couple also spoke out against the UK media in a bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021.
Harry told Winfrey that racism by the UK media was a “large part” of why he and Markle left the UK and eventually relocated to California.