Meghan Markle victim of toxic social media campaign according to new research

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry left social media behind after stepping back from royal life

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visits the African not-for-profit organisation 'mothers2mothers' during the royal tour of South Africa
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Meghan Markle has been found to be the victim of a negative campaign after new research reportedly uncovered a small group of coordinated Twitter accounts are targeting her with hate and misinformation.  

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have previously suggested that negativity and hateful posts played a role in their decision to “step back” as senior royals. Though Prince Harry remains sixth in the royal line of succession, he and Meghan relocated to the US and have settled in their Santa Barbara home as they continue to announce exciting independent ventures, including Meghan’s new Netflix project and Prince Harry’s memoir. Whilst they might’ve left social media behind for the time being, new research has uncovered that the couple and Meghan in particular are being targeted by negative posts. 

As reported by BuzzFeed, Twitter analytics service Bot Sentinel has now released a report which examined the Twitter activity related to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and their findings were shocking. The report is understood to have uncovered that the majority of the hate and misinformation originated from a group of accounts, whose primary purpose appeared to be to Tweet negatively about them. 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at Global Citizen Live on September 25

(Image credit: Photo by NDZ/Star Max/GC Images via Getty)

The in-depth analysis also revealed a level of coordination between the accounts, which reportedly use their combined 187,631 followers to conduct a campaign of negativity against Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry. BuzzFeed News reports that a spokesperson for Twitter told them that they are “actively investigating the information and accounts referenced in this report” and that they “will take action on accounts that violate the Twitter Rules.”

Meanwhile, Christopher Bouzy, CEO of Bot Sentinel is said to have told BuzzFeed News that this anti-Meghan Markle campaign is well beyond the realms they usually see and expressed his belief that there is “no motive” specifically fuelling the Tweets.

“This campaign comes from people who know how to manipulate the algorithms, manipulate Twitter, stay under the wire to avoid detection and suspension,” Christopher told the publication. “This level of complexity comes from people who know how to do this stuff, who are paid to do this stuff.” 

Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex visits 1 World Trade Center on September 23, 2021 in New York City

(Image credit: Photo by Gotham/GC Images via Getty)

He reflected on the nature of the Tweets analysed and explained that they identified 55 “primary accounts” from which the majority of the original, toxic content against the Duchess of Sussex originated. Whilst a further 28 Twitter users were flagged as “secondary accounts” that serve to amplify the first group’s negative posts. 

“These primary and secondary accounts are pushing [hate and disinformation] out, and then it’s being taken over by organic hate,” Christopher said. “You have the ringleaders, then the secondary accounts, and then an outside network that also amplifies and pushes a certain narrative.”

Looking deeper into the Twitter timelines of the “primary accounts'' identified in the research, BuzzFeed News reported that they found a range of harmful Tweets. From posts with clear racial undertones, to claims that her pregnancy was faked or calling for Meghan’s death, the scale and focus of the campaign is extensive and horrific. 

After Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan stepped back from royal life, they bid farewell to their millions of followers on their Sussex Royal Instagram page. Since then they have had no public social media presence, though the Duke previously revealed to Fast Company that he and Meghan haven’t ruled out a return to social media, albeit after it becomes a more positive and kind place. 

“We will revisit social media when it feels right for us-perhaps when we see more meaningful commitments to change or reform-but right now we’ve thrown much of our energy into learning about this space and how we can help,” Prince Harry declared. 

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use , Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!