Demand for the Justice League ‘Snyder Cut’ was reportedly amplified by bots

The zealous online campaign that helped pave the way for the “Snyder Cut” version of Justice League was fueled by a large number of bots and fake accounts, according to a report Rolling Stone. An investigation commissioned by WarnerMedia looked through RS found that “at least 13 percent of accounts that engaged in the conversation about the Snyder Cut were identified as fake, far more than the 3 to 5 percent that cyber experts say they typically see on any trending topic.” With others Words: While many true fans have certainly been pushing for the new version, their voices have been amplified disproportionately by bots.

As a reminder, director Zack Snyder resigned during the editing of justice league for personal reasons, and Joss Whedon completed the film as uncredited director, overseeing reshoots and other changes to shorten the running time and enhance the humor. When the film was released in 2017, it was a critical and commercial failure. After that, an online fan base pushed for Snyder’s darker original vision, also known as the Snyder Cut. Upon its release in 2021, it became the fourth most watched film on HBO Max and was universally hailed as superior to the original.

However, questions arose as to whether the fan interest was entirely organic. WarnerMedia decided to launch an investigation after facing severe cyber harassment that included boycott calls, layoffs and even death threats. It identified communities “consisting of real and fake authors spreading negative content about WarnerMedia for not restoring the ‘SnyderVerse,’ and directed harassment at Warner Bros.” then-CEO AnnSarnoff and other executives and creatives involved with the project.

Rolling Stone also hired a security firm to review suspicious activity, and it said that “there’s no question bots were involved.” Another firm employed by WarnerMedia to investigate spurious activity around the domain traced it to a defunct advertising agency promising “cheap, instantaneous avatar traffic to your site.” Snyder fanned the online flames with social media posts, including one that featured a photo that read, “JL Director’s Cut Running Time 214.” [minutes]’ but it’s not clear what role, if any, he played in the online campaign.

As we indicated in our review of Zack Snyder’s Justice League Last year’s report showed the power but also the potential pitfalls of fandom. “There are positive ways to influence change for any piece of pop culture, but yelling at each other on social media, let alone death threats, shouldn’t be normal,” Engadget’s Devindra Hardawar wrote.

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