Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been making headlines since the time it got released in December last year. While some fans loved the film, others were so disappointed and accused director Rian Johnson of ruining the Star Wars franchise.
The toxic Star Wars fans flooded the director’s Twitter account as well as the actors blaming them for the film’s failure. Actress Kelly Marie Tran, who played Rose Tico in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, even had to deactivate her social media accounts as she was subjected to the most amount of abuse in the aftermath of the film. Online trollers flooded her social media accounts with racist and sexist tweets for their dislike for her character.
Now, a new research conducted by Morten Bay, a research fellow at the University of Southern California, has found that many of the accounts that targeted Johnson and other cast members were internet bots. Surprisingly, around 50 percent of the backlash was political trolling.
The researcher found that just 21.9 percent of all the tweets analyzed about the film had a negative view, while around 50.9 percent of the negative tweets were “likely politically motivated or not even human.”
According to him, the tweets were part of “deliberate, organized political influence measures disguised as fan arguments” that aimed to propagate “widespread discord and dysfunction in American society.”
“Among those who address The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson directly on Twitter to express their dissatisfaction, more than half are bots, trolls/sock puppets or political activists using the debate to propagate political messages supporting extreme right-wing causes and the discrimination of gender, race or sexuality. A number of these users appear to be Russian trolls,” Bay concluded in his research study titled “Weaponizing the haters: The Last Jedi and the strategic politicization of pop culture through social media manipulation.”
Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson shared the tweet announcing the release of the paper on his Twitter account, adding, “Looking forward to reading it, but what the top-line describes is consistent with my experience online.”
A bit of Morten’s research came out awhile ago and made some headlines – here’s his full paper. Looking forward to reading it, but what the top-line describes is consistent with my experience online. https://t.co/MTRgmPxGgZ
— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) October 1, 2018
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