New Study Reveals More Than Half Of ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Trolls Are Bots

Star Wars Last JediThere’s no denying the divisive reaction to Star Wars: The Last Jedi seen in the Star Wars fan community since the film’s release but a new study by researcher Morten Bay reveals many of the accounts targeting the film’s director Rian Johnson as well as the cast are in fact bots.

The Last Jedi has become widely known and infamous in the Star Wars franchise for its depiction of Luke Skywalker and the choices made regarding Rey’s lineage but Bay’s paper, Weaponizing the haters: The Last Jedi and the strategic politicization of pop culture through social media manipulation, could reveal that the hate directed towards the film could be significantly blown out of proportion as it suggests “that while it is only a minority of Twitter accounts that tweet negatively about The Last Jedi, organized attempts at politicizing the pop culture discourse on social media for strategic purposes are significant enough that users should be made aware of these measures, so they can act accordingly.”

Bay also suggests political motivation behind the bots as he likens the targeted harassment and hate towards the film to the 2016 presidential election. In his research, he advocates that the film’s reputation online does not accurately represent the true response to the film as he “finds evidence of deliberate, organized political influence measures disguised as fan arguments. 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.”

The academic divides the negative response to the film into three different categories which he labels as those with a political agenda, trolls, and “real fantagonists,” which are what he sees as true Star Wars fans that were genuinely disappointed with the creative choices made in the film. Bay finds that “overall, 50.9% of those tweeting negatively [about the movie] was likely politically motivated or not even human,” he adds that only 21.9% of tweets regarding the film were negative to begin with.

Overall, Bay notes that the study’s results reveal that “among those who address The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson directly on Twitter to express their dissatisfaction, more than half are bots, trolls/sock puppets or political activists using the debate to propagate political messages supporting extreme right-wing causes and the discrimination of gender, race or sexuality. A number of these users appear to be Russian trolls.”

Since the film’s release last December, Star Wars: The Last Jedi managed a $1.3 billion worldwide box office take, becoming the second highest-grossing film in the franchise, and the eighth highest-grossing film of all time at the domestic box office. It has also become the top-selling Blu-ray of 2018, besting both Marvel’s Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Gwendoline Christie, Benicio del Toro, Laura Dern, Kelly Marie Tran and Andy Serkis.

In Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of The Force Awakens join the galactic legends in an epic adventure that unlocks age-old mysteries of the Force and shocking revelations of the past.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is now available on 4K Ultra HD, Digital HD, Blu-ray, and DVD.

Source: THR

  • ripleycal

    Not sure why this site continues to perpetuate the myth that “There’s no denying the divisive reaction to Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” Even this story debunks that. Other research has demonstrated that the negative reactions were contained to a very small but vocal segment of fandom, and that the vast majority of people who saw the movie loved it. It’s disingenuous to keep flacking the “divisive” description of the audience for clicks; any film has a few negative reactions, but you don’t hear their audiences described as “divisive.”

    • Chris Johnson

      You honestly believe that the vast majority of people who saw that film loved it? Anyone who pays for a study to reach a particular conclusion will get what they paid for. Publishing those results don’t make them truth.

      If you want the truth, look no further than the box office results. They never lie. The film fell dramatically week to week and had no staying power, unlike the previous film. It was dead on arrival in China and removed within days, also not the case for it’s predecessor. Toy sales took an unexpected and steep decline outlined in numerous publications tracking these facts. Finally, that majority you mentioned certainly didn’t lend it’s support to the film that followed. Clearly, the film was not as beloved as you suggest and the box office reflects this.

      Make no mistake about it, “The Last Jedi” was and is extremely divisive otherwise Disney wouldn’t have pushed as hard as they did..and STILL are… to control the narrative the wanted, even though it didn’t actually work. Even Mark Hamill has stated on countless occasions how he feels about the film.

      Not exactly a vote a confidence when Luke himself is at odds with the film.

      • Marquis de Sade

        Uhhh, these movies never did record breaking numbers in China…And box office-wise, TLJ did over 1.3 billion, which is second only to TFA. There was only a small vocal minority who dispised TLJ, but trust, the majority loved it…The box office numbers bears this out.

        • Neuromancer

          You mean the box office numbers that show a major drop off from TFA to TLJ? and how all merch for TLJ isn’t selling??? at all?

          and the blu ray was not the most selling dvd, because compared to TFA, no one bought TLJ.

          Man you people will tell yourselves anything to justify a pos.

          try researching the real numbers and compare them.

          10 out of 13 comments on this page alone are people who dislike the film.

          get out of your bubbles, learn what makes a real good movie, educate yourselves.

          • Maximum Avery

            So you count this pos place as a valid and real bubble?xD hahahahahaha TTVOMJ

  • Chris Johnson


    and that same study showed that “Solo” was actually a box office smash. The rest of us just imagined it failed.

  • Ryan Thomas Rose

    When will journalists start being honest?

  • Gunner62

    People hated that film. What is so hard to understand about that? It had plot holes, continuity errors, pacing issues, forced humor, and no respect for the Legacy that was. It’s not a crime to not like this movie! What is really sad is that they put all this time and effort into trying to silence the detractors, when they could have put it to actually making a good film instead of the trash they’ve been putting out. Bust my chops if you want, I’m not seeing episode 9 or anything else with Kathleen’s finger prints on it.

  • AlphaBlu

    “There’s no denying the divisive reaction to Star Wars: The Last Jedi…”

    … but that won’t stop us from trying!

    It was the Alt-Right and their pesky Russians bot allies!!! Impeach! Impeach!!! #RESIST

  • alexpedro

    The unsatisfaction was real enough to make Solo a failure.

  • Anyah

    My Gosh, i’m scared now! More than half of my friends are bots, and many of the youtube channels I watch are bots!!! They seemed so human for me!!!!

    • Maximum Avery

      Bubble world sock puppets…if you line up people in front of a classroom board and draw several lines next to eachother…30%-40% of the people who didnt know it was a comformity test will say the line which everyone else said is the longest is(it isnt..the test had plants purposefuly saying it)…NOW…f off TTVOMJ

      • Anyah

        And that is why so many idiots say they liked the movie. Because the critics said it was good. So how dare someone say the opposite…

        • Maximum Avery

          No! You dont get to take credit for manipulations with manipulations..i said it…it is mine…and you know why that matters? Because my gf and i, who are different enough generationaly and characteristically loved the movie..first decent sw movie, beyond empire strikes back who i hadnt seen at the zeitgeist…get a grip and unfollow yourself before you lose that grip on reality by not being able to let go….LET GO…. TTVOMJ

          • Anyah

            A good, so you (who just admitted don’t like Star Wars) and your Jail-bait/geriatric gf buy the critics bullshit and think even those who like should do the same… Got it.

          • Maximum Avery

            First of all..1 is more than enough to justify my claim…2nd…@lealvukic…check out her geriatry… TTVOMJ

          • Anyah

            You don’t need to justify your claim darling, you WANT to do it. Ah so you are REALLY the brat of the relation gtk. Makes sense…

          • Maximum Avery

            I dont need google to define you…nor do i need to justify why YOU decided to post here…so deal with it..dont invent “new” cop outs..get some balls..mmmmm TTVOMJ

          • Anyah

            Sorry, did i ask you to use google to define something? Your comment don’t make sense at all. With this comment is get even hard to play fight wit the troll O.o

          • Lead Crow

            What does TTVOMJ mean?

  • Jason Scarpelli

    I liked The Last Jedi and proud of it. So there.

  • deevo.

    Ludicrous. The movie had a LOT of problems. How lame is it that Rian Johnson actually posted thus on twitter? So self-serving.

  • Marquis de Sade

    I liked The Last Jedi…I enjoyed it more than Rogue One and the one before. I haven’t seen Solo yet.

  • Zappy

    “Reveals” that the “trolls” are bots? I would say it not so much ‘reveals’ it as much as it ‘claims’ it. This study relied notably on rather filtered and subjective determinations of what a ‘troll’ was and where they were actually coming from. For example, YouTuber “Yellow Flash” noticed that one of the named “troll bots from Russia” is in fact a longtime Star Wars fan he knows personally – a black man who lives in California.

    But hey, we’re talking about ‘academics’ in the year 2018, what was I really expecting?