Anyone who was on social media during the Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard trial saw a flood of anti-Amber tweets. Declared she didn’t think was “fair”, Amber and her team described the hashtag bonanza as a concerted hate campaign (possibly implying that it was organized by Johnny).
Well, it looks like she was right about the first part anyway: according to a new study by Bot Sentinel, a non-partisan site that tracks and fights disinformation and targeted harassment, the Aquaman star and her supporters were subjected to “one of the worst cases of cyberbullying and cyberstalking by a group of Twitter accounts” ever during the blockbuster defamation trial earlier this year.
In the report, the firm said it studied over 14,000 tweets using the hashtags #AmberHeardIsAnAbuser and #AmberHeardIsALiar, as well as #AmberHeardlsAnAbuser and #AmberHeardlsALiar — in which the I is replaced with a lowercase L. Innerestingly, they noted the “intentional misspelling” was done as “a calculated effort” to get multiple hashtags going at once, and “to deceive Twitter’s algorithms.”
Its findings were disconcerting to say the least. The report learned that fans who tweeted their support of the actress were “attacked relentlessly” with usually “vulgar and threatening language.” In one disturbing instance, someone reportedly created a fake account using photos of a Heard supporter’s late child to torment them, as well as also harassing the person’s family members.
The firm discovered 627 Twitter accounts “exclusively” tweeted about Heard and her fans, while 24% of accounts that used the aforementioned negative hashtags had been created in the last seven months, implying they were created just for this purpose. According to the stats, they talked about little else — “the average for other topics is 8.6%.”
The company said in its report:
“What we observed was one of the worst cases of cyberbullying and cyberstalking by a group of Twitter accounts that we’ve ever seen. It’s our opinion Twitter didn’t do enough to mitigate the platform manipulation and did very little to stop the abuse and targeted harassment.”
Bot Sentinel said it gave Twitter a copy of its report before making it public. The firm also included a disclaimer that they had previously been appointed by Heard’s team in 2020 to study social media activity about her — but noted this was separate from their probe into the trial, which it kicked off last month.
In the wake of the trial, Bot Sentinel said the accounts that attacked Heard and her supporters moved on to trolling Evan Rachel Wood, who has accused Marilyn Manson of sexual abuse, and Cassidy Hutchinson, a former White House aide who recently testified against Donald Trump during a public January 6 hearing. The only thing both women have in common is speaking out against powerful men.
We have a feeling Amber’s team will be addressing this study ASAP. Until then… what do U think about these findings?
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