An extensive report at Rolling Stone has confirmed the online campaign which paved the way for the four-hour recut “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” was boosted by a large number of bot and fake accounts.
The report says an investigation commissioned by WarnerMedia and at least 13% of accounts taking part in the conversation about the Snyder Cut were deemed fake – far above the 3-5% of fake accounts seen on any trending topic. So while many real fans pushed for the new version, those voices were disproportionately amplified by bots.
Snyder famously stepped down during “Justice League” editing for personal reasons and Joss Whedon completed the film as an uncredited director. Released in 2017, the film was a critical and commercial failure and so began an online push for Snyder’s darker original vision.
Warners spent tens of millions to let Snyder finish his film. When it hit the HBO Max service in 2021, it became the fourth most viewed film of that year for them and was widely praised as superior to the 2017 theatrical cut.
That said, the fan campaign was not without controversy including severe cyber harassment targeted at Warner executives such as then-CEO Ann Sarnoff and creatives involved with the project.
For the article, the mag hired a security company to investigate and confirmed that “there’s no question that bots were involved”. Snyder himself seemingly fanned online flames with social media posts, but it’s reportedly not clear how or even if he was involved in the campaign.
Head over to Rolling Stone to read the full piece. The story hit as the film leaves its HBO Max exclusivity window and arrives on other VOD platforms.