With Enemies Like This Who Needs Friends?

By on October 4, 2018

October 4, 2018

Online fans of Star Wars are, guess what? – polarized – and according to an academic paper released by researcher Mort Bay at the University of Southern California, Russian hackers have exploited this split “to further propagate a narrative of widespread discord and dysfunction in American society.” Slavic trolls inserted deliberate “political influence measures” into online fan arguments and criticism of Rian Johnson, the director of, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” says Bay. According to his analysis, over half the critiques were political. Among fans who tweeted about their “diss-like” for the movie, 50.9 percent were “bots, trolls/sock puppets or political activists using the debate to propagate political messages supporting extreme right-wing causes and the discrimination of gender, race or sexuality.” Director Johnson agrees with the researcher’s analysis, although he hastens to add that not all criticism of the film is Russian-influenced or even political. He’s had “tons of great talks with fans online and off” who just thought the film was boring. “That’s what fandom’s all about,” he says.
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The Hill

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