According to a media report, Johnny Depp benefited greatly from social media campaigns in the trial of ex-wife Amber Heard. Five-digit sums were spent on it – by right-wing opinion makers. This is the conclusion of a US media analysis.
Johnny Depp has been largely acquitted in the defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard: he is to receive $8.35 million from the actress. Whether and how the verdict was influenced by social media is a question that should interest supporters on both sides.
The American portal “Vice World News” now claims to have revealed something frightening. With the help of data and research from the non-profit organization “The Citizens”, an anti-Heard campaign on social media was revealed: The page “The Daily Wire” spent tens of thousands of dollars to spread misleading news about the trial of Depp and Heard on social media. The conservative newspaper is currently the second most popular news page on Facebook. It has so far spent between $35,000 and $47,000 on Facebook and Instagram ads to promote articles about the trial, racking up around four million views, according to the report. The media analysts conclude: Most of these ads promote one-page articles and videos with a clear anti-Heard bias. They would be promoted largely through the Facebook pages of high-profile conservative figures, including right-wing commentator Candace Owens.
“The Daily Wire” in particular was probably pursuing its own goals
According to Vice World News, the non-profit media organization “The Citizens” analyzed data from the Facebook ad library that allows estimates of how much pages are spent on advertising. The analysis thus shows how The Daily Wire has attempted to capitalize on the hype surrounding the trial to lure readers to its site – while pushing through its conservative agenda.
For example, one ad promoted the article “The Attempted Character Assassination of Johnny Depp,” which stated that “the only negative words that have been written about the Hollywood star have come from the occasional film critic came. Until he married Amber Heard”. The article contains false claims. The Daily Wire estimated that it spent $20,000 to $25,000 on the ad that promoted this article, about half of its total spend on trial ads, the report said.
The Daily Wire was founded in 2015 by Shapiro, a political commentator and former editor of the far-right Breitbart News, and film director and commentator Jeremy Boreing.
“Daily Wire” sits “on the borderline between news and disinformation,” according to Nandini Jammi, co-founder of Check My Ads, an advertising industry watchdog. She told Vice World News the site has “a handful of stories that are more or less technically correct, and the rest is untenable… But they keep getting away with it,” she said.
Jammi described identifying and capturing high-engagement social media narratives as “a tried and tested script that all disinformation sites posing as conservative sites now use as part of their business model.” The Depp Heard case in Virginia is a godsend for such operations.
Those: “Vice World News”.