Amber Heard Thought She Was Being Trolled By Bots During Trial With Johnny Depp. New Report Says Bots Weren’t The Culprit

The Amber Heard and Johnny Depp legal battle is over, at least for now, but it’s clear that the defamation lawsuits are still very much on the mind of a lot of people. The lawsuits stirred up a lot of interest online, including a fair amount of harassment focused on Amber Heard. That harassment actually became part of the lawsuits, but a new report indicates that while Amber Heard believed she was the target of bots, most of the campaign against her came from actual people.

When Amber Heard filed a countersuit against Johnny Depp for defamation, one of the elements of that suit was the accusation that Depp had hired bots to troll the Aquaman actress online, as a way of controlling the online narrative. But a new report from research firm Bot Sentinel (and reported by CBS) claims that for the most part, the trolls targeting Heard and her defenders were not bots. Instead they're seemingly people that came together and organized against her. According to Bot Sentinel founder Christopher Bouzy…

​​It does not necessarily mean a bunch of folks in a small room, some place in St. Petersburg that are working together. It could just be a group of people who are against Amber Heard, and they decide on another platform — whether it’s Switch or Discord or whatever — ’we’re going to attack, let’s coordinate together.

It’s potentially understandable why Amber Heard might have believed she was the target of bots. We’ve certainly seen online campaigns use bots to various ends in the past. Bot Sentinel examined more than 14,000 tweets that used four different viral hashtags. Nearly a quarter of the accounts were only created in the last seven months and a fifth of them were “dedicated to spamming.” They are referred to as “toxic trolls” in the report, so the end result here is largely the same that it would have been if they had been bots.

The social media campaign against the actress took many forms, including a call for Heard’s role in the upcoming Aquaman sequel to be recast. While that hasn’t happened, during the trial it was revealed that her role in the sequel has been reduced from what it was in early drafts of the script. Heard claimed this was due to the campaign against her. Warner Bros. claims it was a result of a perceived lack of chemistry between Heard and co-star Jason Momoa

We likely haven’t heard the end of Amber Heard and Johnny Depp quite yet, as Heard’s legal team is currently appealing the verdict. This likely means that Amber Heard has not heard the end of social media attacks against her. The fact that they’re not an army of bots is likely cold comfort.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.