Marianna Spring, the BBC’s first disinformation and social media correspondent, has disclosed that she receives 80 percent of all flagged abuse within the corporation. Spring, 27, hosts the BBC Sounds podcast “Marianna in Conspiracyland” and featured in a “Panorama” documentary about the increase in hate speech on Twitter since Elon Musk’s takeover earlier this year, titled “Elon Musk’s Twitter Storm.” The BBC has software that identifies messages containing physical threats, cyberbullying, violent language, negative sentiment, and doxxing. Out of 14,488 messages marked for review and escalation, 11,771 were directed at Spring.
Speaking about this revelation, Spring expressed some relief as it confirmed her concerns about the volume of harmful messages she was receiving. She stated, “To have someone say, ‘Oh, actually, you do receive this phenomenal level of abuse,’ it makes you think, ‘Oh yeah, okay, I’m not going mad.'” Following the broadcast of the “Panorama” documentary on Musk’s Twitter, the abuse targeted at Spring spiked. She described it as feeling “really Wild West,” with a dedicated group of followers seeing it as a green light to bombard her with hate.
After joining the BBC as part of “Newsnight” in 2019, Spring transitioned to specialize in online disinformation the following year. The timing of her role coincided with the start of the Covid pandemic and the spread of related conspiracy theories. Some conspiracy theorists have suggested that the creation of her role by the BBC was evidence of prior knowledge of the global crisis. However, Spring clarified that she had no knowledge of Covid coming and explained that the uncertainty and reliance on social media during that time contributed to the prevalence of conspiracy theories.
The Independent has reached out to BBC for comment on the matter.
In conclusion, Marianna Spring, the BBC’s first disinformation and social media correspondent, has revealed that she receives a significant amount of abuse within the corporation. She has become a target for online abuse after featuring in a documentary about hate speech on Twitter and has experienced a surge in abuse following Elon Musk’s sarcastic tweet. Despite the challenges, Spring is determined to continue her work in exposing disinformation and conspiracy theories.