The BBC’s disinformation and social media correspondent, Marianna Spring, will present a new podcast series for BBC Radio 4, Why Do You Hate Me?
Each episode will see Marianna, one of the BBC’s most trolled correspondents, investigate a different extraordinary case of online hate.
Working with the team behind Radio 4’s hit podcast Marianna in Conspiracyland, she tracks down impersonators, deep-fakers, and conspiracy theorists, as well as those harmed online, to find out why some people behave the way they do on social media.
She meets those at the heart of these online conflicts, and in some cases brings them together, to see if understanding - even forgiveness - is ever possible.
The first two episodes of the series will be available on BBC Sounds on Wednesday 31 January. Episodes will air on BBC Radio 4 weekly, and thereafter on BBC Sounds.
In episode one, Marianna investigates the case of 22-year-old Polish woman, Julia, who went viral on social media for claiming to be Madeleine McCann. For the first time, Julia explains to the BBC why she did it - and the hate and harm it caused to everyone involved.
In episode two, Marianna meets a Northern Irish survivor of the Las Vegas shooting in 2018 - and brings him together with the committed American conspiracy theorist whose content persuaded him it was a staged government plot.
Episode three sees her investigate the origin of an audio deepfake of London Mayor, Sadiq Khan. She tracks down the suspected creator of the deepfake, the remorseful user who made it go viral - and hears the impact it had from the Mayor himself.
Further details of the episodes will be confirmed in due course.
"I spend a lot of time investigating everything bad on social media - and hateful communication is a key currency for those who want to cause harm. In this podcast, I take the listener with me as I unpick some of the most shocking cases of online abuse. I also hunt for the light at the end of the tunnel in the form of forgiveness or reconciliation.
“Online hate doesn't just affect people already in the public eye, but almost anyone who uses social media - with real-world consequences for everybody involved. I try to take an investigative and empathetic approach, cutting through the social media noise and polarisation to uncover the - often complex - truth."
Mohit Bakaya, BBC Director of Speech, says:
"Why Do You Hate Me? is another fascinating series by Marianna Spring which further establishes Radio 4 as the home of top quality investigative journalism in this field. Alongside other top podcasts like Jon Ronson’s Things Fell Apart, The Coming Storm with Gabriel Gatehouse and Frontlines of Journalism with Jeremy Bowen - I hope this continues to develop Radio 4’s reputation for seeking truth, debunking conspiracy and combatting disinformation – with Marianna leading the charge! I’m delighted to bring this new series to an audience on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Sounds."
Why Do You Hate Me? will air on BBC Radio 4 on Wednesdays from 31 January, and it will be available on BBC Sounds.
The first two episodes will be available on BBC Sounds on 31 January, with the others to follow weekly. It will be accompanied by a corresponding series available on BBC iPlayer.
The series is presented by Marianna Spring, produced by Emma Close and Ben Carter, and edited by Sam Bonham. The BBC Radio 4 commissioner is Rhian Roberts.