A lot of the criticism of 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' actually came from Russian trolls and bots, new study finds
- Much of the "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" backlash came from Russian trolls, and not fans, according to a new study.
- Researcher Morten Bay wrote in a paper that there is "evidence of deliberate, organized political influence measures disguised as fan arguments."
- Bay also says that much of the hatred for the film is politically motivated, a result of the Trump Era.
- "The Last Jedi" director Rian Johnson said that much of Bay's writing is consistent with his experience online.
New research suggests that much of the negative reaction to 2017's "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" came from Russian trolls, and was politically motivated.
While critics loved it, the world was quite divided on "The Last Jedi." Some people loved director Rian Jonhson's experimentation with the story and the world we thought we knew. But some people in the fandom thought Johnson destroyed what they once loved in a way that couldn't be repaired.
In the wake of the film's release, many of those who hated the movie aggressively made their feelings about the film known. There were racist and sexist comments made toward actors in the film, particularly Kelly Marie Tran, who played Rose Tico and left social media. In early 2018, a mysterious Twitter account emerged, its sole purpose to get the movie remade with another director. Johnson also experienced harassment online that has continued since the film's release in December 2017.
A recent study's findings, published in "Weaponizing The Haters: The Last Jedi and the strategic politicization of pop culture through social media manipulation" by researcher Marten Bay, looks into the reactions to the movie online - particularly the negative criticism that has made the movie controversial within the Star Wars fandom.
In the paper, Bay suggests that much of the aggressive negative criticism isn't genuine, and some of it isn't even coming from Star Wars fans. Bay wrote that there is "evidence of deliberate, organized political influence measures disguised as fan arguments."
"Overall, 50.9% of those tweeting negatively was likely politically motivated or not even human," Bay wrote, adding that a number of those users appear to be Russian trolls.
Bay also wrote that the Trump era has influenced the fandom, because the themes and messages within "The Last Jedi" are the same as the other Star Wars films. "The divisive political discourse of the study period and the months leading up to it has likely primed these fans with a particular type of political messaging that is in direct conflict with the values presented in 'The Last Jedi,'" Bay wrote.
On Monday, "The Last Jedi" director Rian Johnson tweeted a link to Bay's research, writing that it sounds like the experience he has had online since the movie came out:
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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