Meghan Markle's Treatment Is Evidence That Social Media Is "Safer for Abusers Than for Women," Says Digital Hate Expert

If you're a woman on social media, you already know.

Meghan Markle
(Image credit: Getty)

It's impossible to ignore the hate that Meghan Markle receives online, any time she does anything. To be honest, she doesn't even have to do anything at all: Just a mention of her name inspires people to call her cruel, wordplay-based nicknames to make sure we all know how much they hate her.

If you don't believe me, perhaps you'll believe the data. In October 2021, Twitter's analytics service Bot Sentinel uncovered a coordinated trolling campaign against the Duchess of Sussex, with 70% of hateful comments stemming from just 83 accounts.

At the time, Bot Sentinel CEO Christopher Bouzy said, "This campaign comes from people who know how to manipulate the algorithms, manipulate Twitter, stay under the wire to avoid detection and suspension. This level of complexity comes from people who know how to do this stuff, who are paid to do this stuff."

And Bouzy isn't the only expert who can attest to just how abusive social media is toward not only the duchess, but toward women in general—with Markle being a prime example of how safe people feel to be horrible to others online.

"Our research has proved that virtually all women with a public profile on social media receive a stream of abuse and harassment, and platforms are systematically failing to act on the problem," Imran Ahmed, the CEO of The Center for Countering Digital Hate, told the Guardian.

"Meghan Markle is another example of a high-profile woman targeted with racist abuse, misogynist attacks and conspiracy theories on social media platforms. The truth is that platforms are safer for abusers than the women users, and that has to change."

Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.