More than half of the criticism of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” was politically motivated trolling or non-human bot activity, according to a newly published academic paper.
The paper, by digital media expert Morten Bay, who is a research fellow at the University of Southern California, examines the online response to 2017’s “The Last Jedi,” The Guardian reports, and concludes that more than 50 percent of posts were put up “to propagate political messages supporting extreme rightwing causes and the discrimination of gender, race or sexuality, [with] a number of these users appearing to be Russian trolls.”
Bay wrote that he “finds evidence of deliberate, organized political influence measures disguised as fan arguments,” with “the likely objective… [to increase] media coverage of the fandom conflict, thereby adding to and further propagating a narrative of widespread discord and dysfunction in American society.”
He added that convincing American voters of this narrative “is a strategic goal for the U.S. alt-right movement, as well as the Russian Federation.”
Rian Johnson, director of “The Last Jedi,” retweeted the paper and wrote, “what the top-line describes is consistent with my experience online.”
He added in another tweet: “And just to be totally clear: this is not about fans liking or not liking the movie – I’ve had tons of great talks with great fans online and off who liked and disliked stuff. That’s what fandom is all about. This is specifically about a virulent strain of online harassment.”
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