Marianna Spring, the BBC’s disinformation and social media correspondent, is set to launch a compelling podcast series on BBC Radio 4 titled “Why Do You Hate Me?”
Known for her resilience against online trolls, Marianna will delve into various extraordinary cases of online hate in each episode. Collaborating with the team behind Radio 4’s successful podcast “Marianna in Conspiracyland,” she will uncover the motivations behind impersonators, deep-fakers, and conspiracy theorists, shedding light on the reasons some individuals exhibit toxic behaviour on social media.
The inaugural episodes are scheduled for release on BBC Sounds on January 31, followed by weekly broadcasts on BBC Radio 4 and subsequent availability on BBC Sounds.
In the first episode, Marianna delves into the story of Julia, a 22-year-old Polish woman who gained viral attention on social media by claiming to be Madeleine McCann. Julia, in an exclusive interview with the BBC, reveals the motives behind her actions and the ensuing harm and hatred it caused.
The second episode features Marianna meeting a survivor of the 2018 Las Vegas shooting from Northern Ireland, bringing him face-to-face with an American conspiracy theorist whose content convinced him it was a government-staged plot.
Episode three explores the origin of an audio deepfake featuring London Mayor Sadiq Khan. Marianna tracks down the suspected creator of the deepfake, the remorseful user who propagated it, and even hears about its impact from the Mayor himself.
Additional episode details will be unveiled in due course.
Marianna says: “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?” is scheduled to air on BBC Radio 4 every Wednesday from January 31 and will be available on BBC Sounds. The corresponding series will also be accessible on BBC iPlayer. The podcast is presented by Marianna Spring, produced by Emma Close and Ben Carter, and edited by Sam Bonham, with Rhian Roberts serving as the BBC Radio 4 commissioner.