Films

Russian trolls sparked 'Last Jedi' backlash because they won’t stop until the word burns

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Mark Hamill remains unconvinced by how 'The Last Jedi' treated Luke

A new study has found that a large part of the vitriol directed towards The Last Jedi may have been courtesy of Russian bots

Not sure if you’ve seen Star Wars: The Last Jedi yet, but you may well be aware of all the online hate it got. Critics seemed to love it but a hefty chunk of the neckbeards didn’t - so much so, in fact, that it even forced Kelly Marie Tran, who played Rose, off Twitter. 

The world will be a much better place when these people realise that movies are really not that important - especially ones about talking robots, space cowboys and little screaming hamsters.

But still they trolled, still they complained, still they hooted and hollered at everybody and anybody involved with the film. Although according to a new study, the hate might have come from further afield, from an unexpected place. A USC paper has discovered that a large amount of if might have been specifically manufactured by the same source that supposedly influenced the US elections - those pesky Russian bots and internet trolls.

The paper, entitled Weaponizing The Haters, by researcher Morten Bay, analysed the tweets aimed at director Rian Johnson to try and work out the who, what, where and why behind all the negativity. To do this, Bay gathered every tweet concerning Johnson between December 2017 and July 2018, then took only the negative ones (which was actually only 21% of the whole lot) and grouped them into three separate categories:

- Politically-motivated tweets bemoaning the left-leaning ideals of the film

- People who just hot-darn hated it

- The rest, which comprises dodgy bots, fake accounts and the alleged Russian trolls

These are the strange animal calls that were used to create the Porg screams from ‘Last Jedi’

IT’S ALL A LIE!

In the paper, Bay then draws comparisons between the way that the film was targeted and also the behaviour of certain Russian actors and extreme right-wingers during the 2016 US elections. During that time many pop culture and nerd groups were targeted by politically-motivated voices and were lured in by perceived shared gripes (“They’re ruining our childhood!” etc). 

Bay’s research concluded that:

“Overall, 50.9% of those tweeting negatively [about The Last Jedi] were likely politically motivated or not even human.”

Of course - there are gaps in his research, for example, he admits he can’t be 100% sure about the country of origin of some of the tweeters, and also he only focused on tweets directed towards Johnson, a white male (those aimed at Tran would expose different results, possibly), but it still shows that the general consensus that THE ENTIRE INTERNET hated The Last Jedi may well be gleaned from entirely unreliable sources. 

Essentially: do not trust the internet ever*, but you already knew this, right?

*Unless it’s Shortlist.com, obviously

(Image: Disney)

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