For at least a year I’ve been of the opinion that a vast amount, maybe even a majority, of negative and antagonistic American social media discourse is perpetrated by Russian trolls. These guys do not quit. It’s going to get to the point where every tiny cupcake bakery’s Yelp review, every birth announcement on a public Instagram account, every tweet by any black person ever, is going to include or be met with just stunningly vile commentary. The type of stuff that would make you give up on humanity so completely you could walk by someone drowning in a pond, begging for your for help, and end up thinking, “We’re probably better off.”
As far as I’m concerned this latest study that indicates Russian trolls were responsible for over 50% of negative reviews for Star Wars: The Last Jedi is confirmation of that theory. It wasn’t even necessary and they did it anyway. Just to piss us off. Seriously. That’s what the study says.
The likely objective of these measures is increasing media coverage of the fandom conflict, thereby adding to and further propagating a narrative of widespread discord and dysfunction in American society. Persuading voters of this narrative remains a strategic goal for the U.S. alt-right movement, as well as the Russian Federation.
There is no front on which the Russians won’t fight this war. They’d probably leaving ethnic and misogynistic slurs on the Rotten Tomatoes page of a Dora the Explorer straight-to-video movie. They are a thorough bunch.
The study that documented the trolling of the already controversial latest Star Wars film, Weaponizing The Haters: The Last Jedi and the strategic politicization of pop culture through social media manipulation and its author, Morten Bay, suggest basically that the trolling was done to further stir up alt-right fanboys of the franchise, mostly just to keep them pissed off.
We really shouldn’t have given Russia the internet.