Online propaganda tried to sink "Star Wars."
Using the internet to manipulate opinions is a tactic that is being used by political figures worldwide. It was discovered the Russian agencies helped spread ignorance with politically polarizing ads and memes during the 2016 election run. These memes prompted arguments that would further divide Americans, playing on polarized opinions to bring the worst out of voters. As reported by The New York Times, and many other outlets, these memes were created to help sway voters, divide Americans, and sow discord. Apparently, the same tactic was used to try and sink The Last Jedi.
The eighth installment in the traditional Star Wars storyline continued the Skywalker Saga. How could one family cause so much trouble across the universe? Regardless, critics online bashed The Last Jedi, but many of them have been proven to be fake. As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, a new study titled Weaponizing The Haters: The Last Jedi and the strategic politicization of pop culture through social media manipulation researches the online critics of the film. The study, conducted by researcher Morten Bay, proves that half of the online hatred aimed at The Last Jedi was false.
Bay split the critics into three categories for his study. Trolls, people with a political agenda, and what Bay calls “real fantagonists,” who are genuine Star Wars fans that disliked the film. “Overall, 50.9% of those tweeting negatively [about the movie] was likely politically motivated or not even human,” Bay concluded. "A number of these users appear to be Russian trolls." Why exactly would trolls do this? “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," states Bay.