Tony Khan ruffled some feathers online yesterday when he claimed that a sophisticated network of paid trolls and bots made up much of the negative online sentiment against All Elite Wrestling. Some fans reacted with ridicule. Becky Lynch and other wrestling stars openly mocked Khan’s statement.
Khan claimed that an independent study confirmed the idea that certain accounts were spreading anti-AEW material and were being signal boosted by network of online bots. Many criticized the statement because Khan did not include any citation of such a study. That is because the study is still ongoing.
Dave Meltzer talked about Tony Khan’s work on the latest Wrestling Observer Radio. It was noted that the study is being done by a third-party firm after Tony Khan had an intuition that something was off about the online discourse. The study is still ongoing.
“The study’s not done. What I understand is that he had a premonition of this, being that it’s kind of his field. Then he got somebody independent, an independent firm, and asked them to just kind of study stuff, including this.
The thing is still ongoing, it is not concluded, but they did report to him, I guess probably today or yesterday, what he just reported. So, that was the first stuff he got, which confirmed his initial suspicions. So, I think that’s what it was. He suspected something and found it out to be true, so that was the reason he wrote that…
If you read it, I would say you would say that [WWE is paying for the botnet]. I don’t know that there is or isn’t proof of that… That’s the big question. I don’t have that answer past the point that when I read it, I read that as that insinuation, so I guess you could say that, yeah. That, I don’t know if there is proof of or just the fact that stuff is going on, whatever this would be and I’m sure at some point there will be more on this and the whole study will be out and at that point I’ll probably [do] a better job of explaining stuff, because I don’t know that much.”
It will be interesting to see what the firm hired by Tony Khan comes up with. It is not likely to change many minds in the increasingly tribal world of wrestling fandom. Time will tell how far Tony Khan decides to take his latest crusade.
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