Meghan, Duchess of Sussex has been targeted by cruel trolls online ever since she wed Prince Harry in 2018 – now a report has revealed the truth behind the hate.
In a 2020 podcast appearance the duchess claimed she was the "most trolled person in the entire world" the previous year, and she may have been right.
A new report from Twitter analytics provider Bot Sentinel has revealed the unique and frankly terrifying force behind the vile abuse the royal constantly receives online.
Though she and Harry have no social media presence of their own, having abandoned their official royal accounts when they stepped down in 2020, that hasn't stopped online trolls from targeting the couple.
The bot analysed more than 114,000 tweets that mentioned the duo and claims that over 70 percent of the most egregious hate tweets were created by just 83 accounts.
With almost 190,000 combined followers, the accounts appeared to be run by genuine human users, rather than automated bots designed to spew hate.
What's worse is that the report suggests the interactions between these 83 accounts did not appear "organic", meaning there could be a coordinated effort behind the scenes designed specifically to spread as much hatred for Harry and Meghan as possible.
Though both royals were the target of vile comments online, Meghan bore the brunt of it and was the sole target of almost 80 per cent of the abuse, according to the report.
Twitter responded to the report by suspending 55 of the accounts involved, but said in a statement to the Washington Post that it found no evidence of "widespread coordination, the use of multiple accounts by single people, or other platform manipulation tactics."
But how did these accounts remain active on the social media platform – which implements strict rules around online hate – for so long?
Bot Sentinel chief executive Christopher Bouzy explained to BuzzFeed News that the people running the account had found ways around the social media algorithms designed to detect hate.
He claimed that they wove the abuse in around other content that wasn't aimed at the Sussexes to avoid detection.
As for why these accounts – and the people behind them – were targeting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, he couldn't say.
"There's no motive," he told the outlet. "Are these people who hate her? Is it racism? Are they trying to hurt [Harry and Meghan's] credibility? Your guess is as good as ours."
During her time as a senior royal, Meghan was the target of vicious and often race-fuelled abuse which has not subsided since she and Harry quit the monarchy in 2020.
The mum-of-two has spoken before about how the online trolling has affected her, both before and after she left the royal family.
In 2019, shortly after welcoming her son, she commented on the vicious media backlash against her saying: "Any woman, especially when they're pregnant, you're really vulnerable, and so that was made really challenging."
She added that she was "not okay" at the time, before calling social media trolling a "global crisis of hate" in 2020.
"This isn't just a tech problem. This isn't solely a mental health or emotional wellbeing problem," Meghan said during a TIME100 Talks appearance.
"This is a human problem. And what's happening to all of us online is affecting us deeply offline."
If you or someone you know has been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, help is always available. Call Lifeline on 13 11 14.