Trial by TikTok: Camilla and Meghan targeted with abuse after Queen’s death

As grim reports of the Queen’s death dominated TV bulletins and newspaper headlines, another type of royal material was being viewed millions of times online.

In the days after the news broke, posts containing abuse and misinformation were shared widely on social media – many of them aimed at Camilla, the new queen consort.

Fake photos of the Duchess of Sussex and posts claiming Queen Elizabeth was murdered because she kept secrets on politicians, or was killed by the COVID-19 vaccine, were also widely shared, analysis Get to know from.

On TikTok, the UK’s fastest-growing news source dominated by Gen Z’s user base, the most viewed royal-themed clips include those that mocked Camilla’s appearance and referred to the late Diana, Wales. pitted against the princess of

A video that has been liked 1.1 million times on TikTok since it was posted a week ago featured a collection of pictures of Camilla and Diana. The caption read: “The woman he cheated with… the woman he cheated on,” prompting vitriol comparisons between the women in the comments section.

A TikTok post targeted Queen Consort Camilla. Photo: TikTok

Others called Camilla “Caumilla” or “the evil witch”, claiming she was a “puppet-master” in the royal family, struggling to contain “how happy she is” about the Queen’s death. was being Many were promoted by accounts claiming to be run by young fans of Diana.

Other accounts shared photos of Meghan being teased, revealing that she was depicted wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “The Queen is dead.” On Twitter, a post with the caption “I can’t believe Meghan was there” was liked 27,000 times.

Back on TikTok, several videos claimed to show Meghan at the Queen’s funeral and criticized her for copying an old Diana outfit. One was liked 3.7 million times – although the funeral, which was scheduled for Monday, had not yet taken place.

The content gives insight into the nature of some of the information about the royal family, who gets their news on social media.

While the Duchess of Sussex has been repeatedly targeted with abuse online, Camilla’s slander is a new phenomenon among young people.

Following the breakup of Diana’s marriage to Charles in 1996, Camilla was portrayed by some in the media as a “marriage wreck”, blamed by many for their separation and the princess’s subsequent death. Coverage has softened, now focusing on her charity work and portraying her as friendly and approachable.

Active communities for Diana fans and Camilla critics continued to work, but their reach was largely limited to Facebook groups that members chose to join. On TikTok, anti-Camilla content – which has been growing in popularity since the Netflix drama aired Crown Youth has been widely promoted in recent times.

Dr Laura Clancy, a media lecturer at Lancaster University who studies media representation of the royal family, said that “drip, drip of negative coverage” could have an impact on the shaping of Gen Z’s views on the royal family at a time when debates. Its role in modern society is becoming increasingly important.

For many, their first exposure to information about the new King and Queen consort may be on social media. “While much of this is not explicitly anti-monarchical, it is certainly creating a discourse around the monarchy that is not dictated by the official narrative,” Clancy said. Researchers at the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) identified 16 channels on the messaging app Telegram where conspiracies were shared with a total of 1,369,444 followers.

A TikTok post claimed to show Meghan at Her Majesty's funeral.
A TikTok post claimed to show Meghan at Her Majesty’s funeral. Photo: TikTok

Another post widely circulated online falsely claimed that before she died, the Queen announced she had information that could lead to the arrest of former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. According to fact-checkers from AFP news agency, the claim matches a year-old conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton and her husband, Bill Clinton, killed their political opponents.

While the purposes of posting anti-royal content vary, doing so can generate large returns in the form of views, likes, follows and advertising revenue for account holders.

As is the case for newspapers and websites, royal content can generate traffic from a global audience for social media creators. In Britain, Google searches have been dominated by queries related to the royal family since the death of the Queen, with nine of the top 10 trending search terms containing references to Her Majesty or the new King.

It appears that some accounts posting anti-Camilla and Meghan content have started doing so specifically to capitalize on the increased interest in the royals. One who had previously posted videos of Kardashian prompted him to post hateful material about Camilla hours after the Queen’s death was announced.

Dr Sophie Bishop, an expert in influencer culture and social media algorithms at Sheffield University’s School of Management, said accounts are often rewarded for pushing “huge amounts” of content and the most polarizing posts often perform the best. “Even if you [posting] A video because you are criticizing it, you are still amplifying it,” she said. “It does really well because you have negative and positive feedback.”

CCDH’s Imran Ahmed said the wave of posts showed how bad actors seek to “exploit the opportunity” of big news events by spreading misinformation and hateful content, which is then “amplified” by platforms to boost engagement. ” is done. “There is no doubt that platforms enhance this kind of content because it speaks to people and enhances eyesight, which increases revenue,” he said.

He said the business model risks having a “net effect on an entire generation.” “It’s bigger than the debate about royals. If we see something more often we think it’s more likely to be true. It can shape young minds in a really dangerous way.”

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