Russian Bots Propagated “Last Jedi” Hate?

A new report claims that Rian Johnson’s much debated “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and the backlash against it was heavily fuelled by deliberate antagonistic action from Russian trolls and their bots.

Heat Vision reports that a just published academic paper by researcher Morten Bay finds that half of the online criticism aimed at the film was politically motivated. The paper is titled “Weaponizing The Haters: The Last Jedi and the strategic politicization of pop culture through social media manipulation” and finds “evidence of deliberate, organised political influence measures disguised as fan arguments.”

The paper goes on to say that the likely objective of these measures is increasing media coverage of the fandom conflict, thereby “further propagating a narrative of widespread discord and dysfunction in American society” and pushing said narrative remains a goal of both the U.S. alt-right movement and the Russian Federation.

The paper analyzes the negative online reaction which is split into three camps – politically motivated attacks, trolls, and ‘real fantagonists’ with the latter referring to genuine “Star Wars” fans disappointed in the movie. In the sample, 50.9% of tweets were either “politically motivated or not even human” and that a “number of these users appear to be Russian trolls”.

He says overall only 21.9% of tweets analyzed about the movie had been negative in the first place, and complaints about Lucasfilm’s reported politicization of the franchise by disaffected fans says more about them than Disney or Lucasfilm as “the political and ethical positions presented in the new films are consistent with older films, [so] it is more likely that the polarization of the Trump era has politicized the fans.”

However you feel about it, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” made $1.3 billion at the worldwide box-office, holds a 91% (8.1/10) on Rotten Tomatoes and an 85 on Metacritic, an on IMDb it stands at a 7.2/10 with 417,100 votes counted.