On today's episode of BuzzFeed Daily, we broke down the top pop culture headlines AND discussed the strange Twitter campaign targeting Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. You can listen below or scroll down to read more about the interview!
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So let's dive right into it! Recently we talked to Buzzfeed News’ Ellie Hall about the orchestrated Twitter campaign being waged against Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Here's some of what we learned:
BuzzFeed Daily: You recently wrote a piece for BuzzFeed News about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, specifically about all of the hate and negative comments they've been receiving on Twitter as of late. Can you tell us about what you found out?
BuzzFeed Daily: OK, so you're talking about these accounts that are just meant to harass Meghan. Do we have any idea if these accounts are real people or if they're bots?
BuzzFeed Daily: You mentioned that you spoke with Christopher, and he's even personally coming under fire on Twitter for launching the investigation. Do you get a sense that these kinds of personal online attacks are just part of his everyday job?
EH: No, it's not. Christopher and I are now Signal buddies because we're trying to deal with the amount of harassment that we're both getting. For me, at least, it's calling out my journalistic credentials. But for Christopher, it's a million times worse. He's a Black man. People have tweeted photos of him comparing him to a primate. But the worst thing with him is that it's getting really personal. Someone created a fake Twitter account pretending to be his daughter and claimed that he was a child abuser — someone using old photos from his account pretending to be his daughter. And he's like, "My daughter is a grown woman" and they're putting photos of a teenager out there. Someone's tweeted his home address. People have gone through old court records. He had bankruptcy records. Everything got eventually worked out, but people were like, "Oh, he's bankrupt, and that's why he's doing all of this. He's just trying to get money for Bot Sentinel" — which is a crowdfunded sort of system operation. So it's horrible.
BuzzFeed Daily: So he's literally getting all of this hate just because he investigated why Meghan Markle is getting hate.
EH: Yeah, and the whole reason he was interested in it was because he made some positive tweet about Meghan and Harry, I think when they were in New York a few weeks ago, and people immediately glommed on to it. And the biggest thing was an anti-Meghan and Harry person went to a photo he tweeted of his dead mother, who died of COVID-19, and said something like, "Well, it's a good thing she's dead, so she doesn't have to be ashamed of her son."
And then he was like, "Oh, you messed with the wrong one, you messed with the wrong one today. I wasn't going to pay attention, but now I am." So it was literally people coming after him that led to him doing this bigger report. And he's actually now introduced something to track hate accounts, which he defined as — and I also agree with his definition — single-purpose hate accounts.
And you see this sometimes with fan accounts, like a lot of BTS fans have separate BTS accounts. I won't name names, but one of my colleagues at BuzzFeed News has a separate account just for BTS stuff. But that's to support something. But with Meghan and Harry accounts, it's not promoting something. These accounts' only purpose is to spread misinformation, or just hate, about this couple.