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Analysis finds Twitter hate campaign aimed at Prince Harry, Meghan Markle

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Analysis finds Twitter hate campaign aimed at Prince Harry, Meghan Markle
Britain's Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle speak at Global Citizen Live in New York City on September 25. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 28 (UPI) -- An analytics report has found that the vast majority of hateful comments on Twitter directed at Britain's Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle comes from a small number of accounts -- indicating a coordinated campaign.

The analysis by Bot Sentinel says just 83 accounts were behind 70% of all tweets of a harassing nature that it found were aimed at the couple, particularly Markle.

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"Since Harry and Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, announced their departure from royal life in January 2020, there has been an increase in disinformation and targeted harassment directed at the couple on social media platforms, particularly toward the duchess," the 13-page report states.

"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. However, the primary accounts had assistance that allowed their content to be repackaged and shared by accounts with a considerable following."

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The Bot Sentinel analysis said of a sampling of about 114,000 tweets about the royal couple, there were 55 pages used solely as hate accounts and 28 secondary hate accounts. The accounts had a total of nearly 190,000 followers and potentially reached 17 million users on the platform, the report said.

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The report also says there was no widespread coordination or the use of multiple accounts by one user, and that four of the primary accounts were suspended.

Most of the tweets were generated by humans and not by automation, Bot Sentinel CEO Christopher Bouzy told The Washington Post.

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Markle has previously said that she avoids social media for her "own self-preservation." The couple noted that the toxicity of social media played a factor in their decision last year to step away from their royal duties and move to the United States.

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