Working in journalism and having to research various topics on social media platforms will let you in on one dirty little secret. Maybe it's not so secret actually, but basically a lot of people have a lot of incredibly hateful things to say online. Y'all I am talking stuff that is so horrific that it's genuinely shocking people even think it. Being in the public eye leaves you open to these shocking and negative comments and boy oh boy has Meghan Markle had it. So when research revealed that 70 percent of tweets abusing Meghan Markle on social media came from just 20 Twitter accounts, it got people thinking: who is actually behind all this hate?
Hope Not Hate and CNN joined forces to research the sources of these hateful tweets. They looked at the tweets from Jan and Feb, zoning in on some particularly anti-Meghan hashtags. These hashtags include #megxit, #bumpgate, and #mmtcd which is reportedly means "Meghan Markle The Charlatan Duchess". Way to use acronyms for hateful reasons, guys. 70 per cent of the over 5,200 abusive messages examined were from these 20 accounts, which seem to have been created for the soul purpose of abusing Meghan, with words too horrific to even repeat.
Advocacy group Hope Not Hate was set up in 2004 and describes itself as a "positive antidote to the politics of hate." They work to fight hateful, fascist beliefs by strengthening individuals and communities against hate. Hope Not Hate researcher Patrik Hermansson said he is saddened by the anti-Meghan rhetoric, especially by its viciously racist and xenophobic nature.
"People tie these things so much to what they think it means to be British, which is white. So, it has a racial element to it. But there's also this idea of cultural decline — [that] what we were before, a strong palace, a monarchy, an empire ... is falling apart, and that of course is brought on by these other far-right conspiratorial ideas, like what mass immigration is doing with our society, the replacement of British people of British culture".
The spreading of these dangerous ideologies is breeding more hatred and is incredibly dangerous in our society, as Hermansson flagged when he spoke with CNN.
"Those ideas can enable people and... motivate people to take direct action in a violent way. There are lots of examples of that in just the last [few] years".
Anti-royal family beliefs and opinions are nothing new, nor are inappropriate comments about them. Nor is pitting women against each other. Y'all, that has been selling papers for a long flipping time. However, social media's ability to give a voice to genuinely damaging and evil commentary with little or no consequence is terrifying. As is the fact that there are people whose one and only desire is to spread disgusting racist, fascist, and misogynistic hatred.
Clarence House took to their Twitter on March 4 to state their guidelines for those who would like to engage with them on social media platforms.
This study probably won't stop vile trolls, but hopefully it will serve to educate people about what is often behind these negative sentiments and to be wary of falling into similar patterns.