Many Amber Heard Twitter Followers Are ‘Fake’
A new study reveals that almost 11% of all Twitter accounts discussing Johnny Depp’s libel lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard is fake.
According to Cabrera, a digital startup dedicated to improving internet distance by identifying inauthentic online behavior, most inauthentic accounts favors Heard, while most authentic accounts support Depp.
“There will always be some level of extra, inauthentic conversation around a topic,” said Cyabra CEO Dan Brahms.
About 11% of the 2,300 accounts analyzed by Cyabra appeared to be fake.
Researchers decide whether accounts are fake based on their interactions with other users, the content they post, and more. Algorithms can now detect fake accounts based on their social media activity.
While 11% may not seem like a lot, Mr. Brahmy says it’s comparable to the percentage of inauthentic accounts involved in “aggressive election interference”.
This means that the 11% of inauthentic accounts participating in Depp-Heard’s speech is about three to four times higher than the 3% to 5% average for other areas of interest.
Mr. Brahmy noted that inauthentic accounts pushing pro-Depp content and pro-Heard content were clearly distinguished.
“We didn’t just analyze Johnny Depp as one word and Amber Heard as another word,” Mr. Brahmy added. Instead, he searched for accounts using hashtags like #IStandWithAmberHeard, #BoycottJohnnyDepp, and #JusticeForJohnnyDepp.
Most legitimate accounts posted pro-Depp material, including hashtags such as #JusticeForJohnnyDepp, #BoycottAmberHeard, and #AmberHeardIsALiar, Cyabra found.
An inauthentic pro-Depp account garnered over 20,000 shares.
Most of the accounts posting pro-Heard content were fake fan pages using hashtags like #JusticeForAmberHeard, #JohnnyDeppIsALiar, etc.
Between March 13 and April 16, the first week of the study, the accounts assessed by Cyabra were involved in the Depp-Heard debates on Twitter.
Marketing vice president Rafi Mendelsohn said the researchers were surprised by their findings.
“It used to be pretty unlikely that we thought we would have a conversation about misinformation when it came to a topic about Johnny Depp. Elections, yes. Wars, yes,” he said. “But in fact, now when it comes to celebrity topics… we find ourselves more and more watching topics, covering everyday celebrity topics.”
“We can now say with enough confidence that there isn’t a topic in the news right now…or a topic that’s being discussed on social media that isn’t touched by the challenge and the problem of misinformation and fake profiles spreading and negatively impacting the conversation.
It all revolves around the Washington Post op-ed where Heard claimed she was a victim of domestic abuse.
Heard never named Depp, but his lawyers say his claims have hurt his career and his relationship with his family.