If you spend any time at all on social media, then we probably don’t need to tell you it can be a very nasty place.
Regular people with followings in the triple digits often experience bullying and harassment, and obviously, the problem is much more severe in the case of public figures who can’t remove themselves from the online discourse even when they want to.
Even people who never post on Twitter or create videos for YouTube might find themselves on the receiving end of a daily barrage of hateful content.
And in extreme cases, the celebrity in question might be the victim of a coordinated assault on their character.
It sounds like something from a dystopian science-fiction novel, but believe it or not, that’s exactly what happened to Meghan Markle.
In October, analytics firm Bot Sentinel reported some very surprising findings about the deluge of angry tweets directed at Meghan.
The company examined over 114,000 tweets disparaging Meghan and determined that 70 percent of them originated from just 83 accounts.
This handful of hate pages had achieved a tremendous amount of engagement, leading Bot Sentinel CEO Christopher Bouzy to the conclusion that Meghan was targeted by a coordinated harassment campaign.
Obviously, it’s a terrifying thought that such a small group of people (and it’s important to bear in mind that the 83 accounts probably represent far fewer than 83 people) could pull off a campaign of such magnitude.
And the company offered more bad news this week with a report about YouTube and the ways in which anti-Meghan content is generating big bucks for both the creators and the platform.
Bouzey tells Newsweek that users who are essentially just bullying Meghan with their videos are “earning thousands via YouTube advertising, which then acts as an incentive to continue creating more hate-filled content.”
“I think it’s unconscionable and abhorrent that people are earning thousands of dollars each month from videos created to spread hate, and platforms like YouTube are incentivizing these people to continue creating more hate-filled content,” Bouzy says.
The numbers might be even more shocking than the ones that were revealed following the Twitter investigation.
Bouzy analyzed the content that originated from 55 separate accounts (in this case, too, this small number of users was responsible for the vast majority of the anti-Meghan content) and found that some people are making a lot of money bashing the Duchess.
One user, who goes by the name of Wally Yankee accidentally revealed just how much she earns hurling invective at the mother of two,
Yankee is responsible for hundreds of videos with titles like “Proof of what a Manipulative Evil Conniving Plotting Controlling Narcissist Meghan Markle REALLY is” and “Meghan Markle cannot make me like her. The more she pushes, the more I dig my heels in!”
In one of these clips, Wally Yankee exposed the real reason why she spends so much of her time spewing vitriol.
“In Yankee Wallys video titled, ‘MeghanMarkle has won a silly copyright claim, but she is now known WORLDWIDE as a big fat liar,’ around 9:19 in, she inadvertently shows her YouTube Studio estimated monthly revenue,” Bouzy tells Newsweek.
“She earns over £2500 per month or approximately $3,316.50.”
And because YouTube boosts the most popular content, users like Yankee are further incentivized by seeing their videos shoot to the top of search results page.
So if you were to go to YouTube and search for “Meghan Markle,” you’d likely get the impression that the Duchess of Sussex is widely despised.
But it’s just a few dozen trolls creating that impression for financial gain.
And that’s a situation that should concern all of us.