Justice League’s ‘Release the Snyder Cut’ social media campaign allegedly used fake accounts
A new report has claimed that the fan campaign that contributed to Zack Snyder’s revamp of Justice League was partly fueled by fake social media accounts.
According to Rolling Stone, WarnerMedia commissioned two reports on the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut social media campaign and found that “at least 13%” of the accounts involved were fake. Twitter’s own estimates for fake accounts – made very public during its ongoing conversations with Elon Musk – sits at around 5%, making it a disproportionate number.
The reports were apparently commissioned following an Instagram post by user @daniras_ilust, which depicted the decapitated heads of Geoff Johns (Justice League producer), Walter Hamada (president of DC Films) and Toby Emmerich (former president of the Warner Bros. Pictures group). These three men were considered enemies of Zack Snyder by fans of the film, and the image was quickly shared online. Concerned about employee safety, WarnerMedia reportedly commissioned a third-party cybersecurity film to analyze online behavior around Justice League.
Rolling Stone reports that it has accessed the main report, from April 2021, which includes the following conclusion: “After researching conversations online about the release of Snyder Cut of Justice League, specifically the hashtags ‘ReleaseTheSnyderCut’ and “RestoreTheSnyderVerse” on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, [the analysts] detected an increase in negative activity created by real and fake authors. Additionally, three top leaders were identified among authors scanned on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – one leader on each platform. These leaders have received the most engagement and have many followers, which gives them the ability to influence public opinion.
Rolling Stone also conducted its own research, speaking to three cybersecurity and social media intelligence companies. Among them was Q5id, whose chief information officer and chief technology officer, Becky Wanta, said analysis shows “there is no doubt that bots were involved.”
Wanta noted that the accounts involved in the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut campaign are “coming in at nearly the same time in large numbers,” and that the origins of many posts can often be traced to one or two sources. If so, the fake accounts might have helped amplify the message of fans pushing for a Justice League director’s cut.
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