Are Zack Snyder fans right for refusing to believe bots rigged Oscars?

Images via Netflix and HBO Max. Remix by Danny Peterson.

Fans of director Zack Snyder are refusing to believe a couple of fan-voted categories at the Oscars were dominated by his films due to unfair rigging, despite a report that seemed to raise questions about the possibility of Twitter bots tainting the count. But the Academy’s own take on the situation, in a subsequent report, was the most surprising revelation of all.

The Wrap reported Thursday that the most active voters in the Twitter polls “were autonomous web programs,” when it came to the Academy Awards’ “Fan Favorite” and “Cheer Moment” categories, which were won by Snyder’s Army of the Dead and Justice League (2021), respectively.

But is the report everything that it seems? Many fans, particularly those advocating for DC to restore the so-called SnyderVerse, are raising doubts.

An impromptu campaign started cropping up on Twitter with users declaring they voted for Snyder in the count and they are indeed not robots.

But let’s get real: of course fans of the director are going to refute the bot theory. Are there any other reports that back them up?

It turns out, since The Wrap’s initial reporting, Vanity Fair of all places filed their own report Friday that seemed to contradict the former’s claim. According to the article,

“[A]n Academy source defended the categories’ merits, maintaining that only 20 votes could be cast per Twitter handle and that accounts less than a day old were banned from voting.”

The Wrap’s original report cited Tweet Binder, a hashtag analytics tool, and University of Maryland professor David Kirsch, whose research has included studying fanbots. While Kirsch said there were some questionable accounts, he could not “definitively declare them bots.” Nevertheless, The Wrap noted some “weird anomalies” with the polls, such as a one-day leap in votes to 25,000 votes on Feb. 27, 2022, after daily counts in the weeks leading up to that date were in the 4,000-15,000 range.

Snyder’s two fan-voted wins were announced at the 94th Academy Awards on March 27, but largely overshadowed by a certain slap heard around the world.

About the author

Danny Peterson

Danny Peterson

Danny Peterson covers entertainment news for WGTC and has previously enjoyed writing about housing, homelessness, the coronavirus pandemic, historic 2020 Oregon wildfires, and racial justice protests. Originally from Juneau, Alaska, Danny received his Bachelor's degree in English Literature from the University of Alaska Southeast and a Master's in Multimedia Journalism from the University of Oregon. He has written for The Portland Observer, worked as a digital enterprise reporter at KOIN 6 News, and is the co-producer of the award-winning documentary 'Escape from Eagle Creek.'