13 per cent of Justice League’s Snyder cut online trolls were fake, report finds

·2-min read
 (Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
(Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

Justice League director Zack Snyder has become the centre of controversy after it was revealed that around 13 per cent of online accounts supporting him are fake.

Justice League, which was released in 2017, was originally helmed by the director before being completed by Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon.

However, Snyder fans took to social media in 2018 to demand the release of the “Snyder cut”: the version of DC’s film Justice League originally envisioned by Snyder before his departure from the film for personal reasons.

WarnerMedia ultimately commissioned an investigation into the online activity, after trolls posted edited images of the decapitated heads of three studio executives online – with other fans tagging the executives’ children.

The studio was also severely trolled by online accounts demanding a release of the Snyder cut, using the hashtags #ReleasetheSnyderCut and #RestoretheSnyderverse.

The results of two of these reports, which were carried out by a third party, a cybersecurity firm, were obtained by Rolling Stone.

Though there seems to be no suggestion that Snyder himself had anything to do with it, the report found that “negative activity” had been “created by both real and fake accounts” in support of his Justice League film.

 (handout)
(handout)

Across the three main social media platforms – Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – the report identified three main ringleaders, who received high levels of engagement and worked to influence online opinion.

In addition, 13 per cent of the social media profiles trolling Warner turned out to be fake – substantially higher than the average of three to five per cent that are usually behind driving trending subjects.

Rolling Stone ultimately discovered that some of these accounts on Twitter seemed to exist only for the purpose of trolling WarnerMedia and supporting Snyder – while one of the director’s biggest supporters online, “forsnydercut.com” was a website that was registered to an ad agency promising “cheap, instant Avatar traffic” to its customers.

DC finally released Snyder’s version of Justice League on HBO Max in March 2021. Whereas the 2017 version was roundly panned by critics, the updated film was praised for its “operatic” vision and more cohesive storyline.

However, WarnerMedia’s CEO Ann Sarnoff (who had also been the target of online abuse) also stepped in to warn its fans, calling the behaviour of the Snyder cut online trolls “unacceptable” and “reprehensible no matter what franchise you’re talking about."

The Snyder trolls’ activities are not limited to Justice League. In March 2021, they targeted the film Godzilla vs. Kong, review-bombing the film’s IMDb page with one-star reviews to attack Warner Studios.

WarnerMedia was ultimately able to work with IMDb to weed out the fake reviews.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting