Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, has said that she was the “most trolled person” in the world, referring to the online abuse she received in 2019, a year she partially spent on maternity leave.
Now, a report released on Tuesday by Twitter analytics provider Bot Sentinel indicates Meghan and her husband, Prince Harry, were the target of a coordinated hate campaign on that platform, bolstering the couple’s claim of widespread harassment.
After analysing 114,000 tweets related to Harry and Meghan, Bot Sentinel identified 83 accounts that it alleges were behind 70 per cent of the more virulently anti-Sussex tweets. The accounts had more than 187,000 combined followers and had the potential to reach 17 million other Twitter users, the report estimated.
Some of the tweets used coded racist language, according to Bot Sentinel, which said that Meghan, who is biracial, was the subject of about 80 per cent of the harassment.
The pattern that emerged from how these accounts interact with one another was not “organic,” the report said, suggesting a coordinated effort to amplify harassment of the royal couple.
Most of the hate tweets appeared to be generated by humans, said Bot Sentinel chief executive Christopher Bouzy in an email. “We looked for automated accounts and found very little evidence of bot activity.”
Representatives for Harry and Meghan could not immediately be reached for comment early on Wednesday.
Four of the 55 primary accounts pinpointed by Tuesday’s report have been suspended for violating the platform’s policies, according to a Twitter spokesperson.