According to a recent study, the Johnny Depp defamation trial involved “one of the worst cases of cyberbullying and cyberstalking by a group of Twitter accounts” against Amber Heard and her supporters.
The ex-spouses showed up in court earlier this year about an opinion piece Heard had written for The Washington Post in 2018, mentioning her experiences with domestic violence, saying she has faced “the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out.”
Despite the fact that Heard did not precisely name the actor she was married to from 2015 to 2017, Depp’s legal team argued and said that readers of the publication were likely to conclude Depp was to be blamed for the indirect allegations.
As a result of the trial, Heard received a $10 million (£8 million) penalty in compensatory damages and a $5 million (£4 million) penalty in punitive damages, to be paid to Depp, after a jury found her guilty on all three counts. However, Depp received a compensatory damages penalty of $2 million (£1.6 million), but $zero in punitive damages to be paid to Amber Heard as she got the jury on her side on one of the counts.
After winning his defamation lawsuit against Amber Heard, Johnny Depp made a long statement in which he expressed his happiness and thanked the supporters on social media.
During the trial which was broadcasted live on television and digital media channels, social media was full of jokes and memes about Depp and Heard, primarily targeting the latter. Heard claimed that she felt she was being unfairly criticized while a massive audience primarily supported Depp.
“Even if you think that I’m lying, you still couldn’t look me in the eye and tell me that you think on social media there’s been a fair representation,” she stated in an interview in June.
Do you think Amber Heard deserved the harassment she received on social media? Share your views!
On Monday, July 18, a report was published by Bot Sentinel, a nonpartisan website that uses AI to track and combat misinformation and targeted harassment.
Their website reads, “We believe Twitter users should be able to engage in healthy online discourse without inauthentic accounts, toxic trolls, foreign countries, and organized groups manipulating the conversation.”
They noted that intentional misspelling was commonly used to “deceive Twitter’s algorithms” and create the surge of numerous hashtags at once.
The software found more than 14,000 hashtags like “#AmberHeardIsAnAbuser” and “#AmberHeardIsALiar.”
One of the report’s key findings is that Heard’s supporters on Twitter were “attacked relentlessly” and “vulgar and threatening language” had been frequently used against them. 627 Twitter accounts were discovered that “exclusively” tweeted about Heard and her fans.
Additionally, they discovered that 24% of the accounts using these negative hashtags for Heard had been created in the previous seven months when they claim the average is 8.6%.
“What we observed was one of the worst cases of cyberbullying and cyberstalking by a group of Twitter accounts that we’ve ever seen”, the report reads, suggesting that the platform did “very little to stop the abuse and targeted harassment.”
According to Bot Sentinel, Heard’s team had gotten in touch with them in 2020 to inquire about her social media activity, but that was not related to this recent investigation, which started last month.