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Kelly Marie Tran left social media because of an influx of negative responses to her role in a movie, but it seems that not all of it came from real sources. It turns out that potentially as much as half of the vitriol focused on the Star Wars: The Last Jedi actress may have come from Russian bots, not actually angry fans.
The news that Russian bots may have been involved in amplifying the negative reaction to Star Wars: The Last Jedi was part of a research study published earlier this month by Morten Bay, but in addition to the bots piling on the existing general backlash aimed at the film and director Rian Johnson, it seems that the criticism also included the anger that was focused on Kelly Marie Tran and her role in the film.
The study found that possibly as much as 51% of the negative social media response may have been bots. It seems that sources in Russia saw the negative response happening and decided to piggyback on top of it as a way to expand the decent and generally cause a commotion.
To be clear, that means that about half of the people sending negative Instagram responses to Kelly Marie Tran were actual people who thought telling her they didn't like her role in a movie, frequently in some pretty movie terms, was a good use of their time. That's still far too many, but it also means that there weren't nearly as many people actually doing it as it may have seemed.
It was several months ago that Kelly Marie Tran disappeared from Instagram. While it was rumored at the time that she had been driven away due to ongoing harassment, it was some time before the actress opened up publicly to discuss the issue. At this point, it's unclear if Tran will ever go back to social media. Currently, the actress has an official Instagram account, but nothing has been publicly posted on it.
The fact that bots got involved in something like the social media response to a movie and its actors isn't good news for anybody. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter to Kelly Marie Tran how much of the hate she received was from legitimate sources. Plenty of it was, and the part that wasn't just ended up making it all harder to deal with.
For people who might have had legitimate complaints, about the film The Last Jedi, nobody needed to go after an actress just doing her job, those opinions likely got overshadowed by the influx of botsmovieand now nobody really has any idea just what the fan reaction to the movie really was. Clearly, people had strong opinions, but how many of those strong opinions were from actual people?