Bot Sentinel released their latest report yesterday. This one is an investigation into how well-known and oft-quoted “royal reporters” are often the ones following, retweeting, corresponding with and amplifying well-known Sussex hate accounts. As always, the most repulsive hate accounts are the ones focused almost solely on the Duchess of Sussex, and the people who run those accounts know which royal commentators are their allies. Bouzy found multiple interactions between the hate accounts and Angela Levin, Richard Fitzwilliams, Richard Palmer, Emily Andrews, Richard Eden, Victoria Arbiter and more. You can see the Bot Sentinel PDF here.
Angela Levin’s interactions with hate accounts were more than all other journalists' and royal commentators' interactions combined. Angela had 102 interactions, and the majority were favorable to the hate accounts. pic.twitter.com/cFx4mhStVQ
— Christopher Bouzy (@cbouzy) November 9, 2021
Christopher Bouzy spoke to The Grio about what’s happening with the hate accounts and the royal reporters who love them:
Launched in 2018 as a crowdfunded web service, Bot Sentinel is designed to help fight disinformation and targeted harassment on Twitter. The company’s latest tool, the Hate Tracker, features an updated algorithm to ensure that the platform can identify all forms of harassment. To his critics, who claim that he is censoring free speech, Bot Sentinel CEO, Christopher Bouzy, insists that “free speech doesn’t give anyone the right to target, defame, or dox someone they don’t like.”
Bouzy explained to theGrio his evolving vision for the company: “I developed Bot Sentinel to help users identify toxic accounts that target the most vulnerable people online. However, we launched the Hate Tracker to spotlight single-purpose hate accounts targeting high-profile people, especially women and women of color. People need to understand it’s not just random angry people voicing their opinions. These single-purpose hate accounts are coordinated, and some are even profiting from their hatred and harassment.”
In the past two weeks, 47% of the accounts responsible for the majority of the hateful attacks against the Sussexes have either been incapacitated or restricted, including nine accounts which were permanently suspended by Twitter. In an Oct. 27 statement to the Washington Post, Twitter said they were “actively investigating” and would take action on any account violating Twitter rules but saw no evidence of “widespread coordination, the use of multiple accounts by single people, or other platform manipulation tactics.”
Bouzy told theGrio that the scope of Bot Sentinel’s investigation expanded when they observed “an unusual number of hate accounts interacting with journalists who primarily cover the Royal Family.” Further research showed that some journalists were following the “more active and well-known hate accounts.” By definition, these are accounts dedicated to tweeting defamatory content about Harry and Meghan. What value could royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams find in following one account that espouses conspiracy theories that claim Meghan was trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein, much less six?
The most egregious case was royal biographer, Angela Levin, who follows 19 hate accounts including one who threatened Meghan’s life. She also interacted regularly with two notorious anti-Sussex accounts, Murky Meg and Yankeewally, who were permanently banned from Twitter for violating the platform’s online harassment policy.
In the past, journalists who were caught engaging with these types of toxic accounts feigned ignorance, or like Robert Jobson, royal editor for the Evening Standard, they go with the old standby excuse of everyone who has ever forgotten to use their burner account — they claim they were hacked. The message that Jobson retweeted has since been deleted and the Banana Scribbler account appears to be deactivated.
By contrast, Levin chooses to hide in plain sight with over 100 interactions with accounts monitored by the Hate Tracker. Interactions range from retweets, quoted tweets, or replies, but the report doesn’t evaluate intent. Bouzy notes that the majority of royal reporters and commentators’ interactions with hate accounts “were inconsequential.”
Angela Levin was the most blatant example of someone who was openly interacting, repeating and amplifying all of the wildest and most toxic conspiracies from the hate accounts. People like the Daily Mail royal reporters try to be a bit more careful online, especially since they’re getting their leaks and marching orders from the palaces, not the hate accounts. But there’s a symbiosis happening there, and many Sussex squaders believe to this day that some of the hate accounts are being run BY royal communications offices. At this point, it would not surprise me.
Photos courtesy of Backgrid.