An analysis of sentiment on Facebook and Twitter around Schapelle Corby suggests 46 per cent of people believe she is guilty, 22 per cent that she was innocent, with nearly a third (32 per cent) saying they did not care about the story at all.
Corby’s release from her Bali jail cell has sparked a wave of criticism on social media about Channel Seven’s alleged $1m to $3m payment for interview rights as well as Channel Nine’s move to pit its telemovie Schapelle against Seven’s docudrama about INXS.
Research by social media agency We Are Social shows a quarter (25 per cent) of all discussion focused on how the media is making too much of the story and ignoring more important stories such as the Victorian bushfires as a result.
Tweeters also hit out about Channel Seven’s reported deal with Corby for interview rights. Comedians, sports stars, news outlets, journalists and users making political statements accounted for the most retweeted comments.
Even more people talking about Schapelle focused on the dilemma of having to choose between the first part of Nine’s telemovie Schapelle and Seven’s docudrama about Australian band INXS on Sunday.
The research shows 28 per cent of tweets about Corby focused on this conundrum presented by the networks on Sunday night, in which Seven won out with 1.9m viewers for INXS: Never Tear Us Apart, as Schapelle averaged 1.022m and was replayed on Monday to 241,000.
The analysis found more than 110,000 messages about Corby between February 4 and 10, with the number growing every minute, with two-thirds (76 per cent) of conversations held on Twitter. Facebook accounted for just under a fifth (19 per cent) of Corby-related conversations, as mainstream news and forums each accounted for two per cent of discussion about the 36-year-old.
Channel Seven’s breakfast show Sunrise conducted a poll of its viewers after co-host David Koch criticised the network for paying Corby for an interview deal and found 54 per cent of viewers who voted believed she was guilty and 46 per cent said she was innocent.
Corby has also been the focus of an emerging meme using the hashtag #ThingsSchapelleMissed, as tweeters recall cultural events of the last nine years she was behind bars.
Brands that jumped on Schapelle’s media attention to promote their brands, such as Nandos call for her to try their peri-peri chicken provoked a divided response from consumers who called it either ‘advertising gold’ or a fail in poor taste.
“The social media response to Schapelle tells us that Australians love for real crime stories only matches their appetite for reality TV content. Twitter and Facebook are the conversation channels where the story unfolds,” noted We Are Social.