There’s no question that 2014 has been an interesting year for Twitter. The micro-blogging platform recently celebrated its tenth birthday and saw quite a few major upgrades as a result; more importantly, though, it emerged that several well-known brands faked their account holders’ tweets. These events have inevitably drawn comparisons to the ‘fraudsters’ of yore who managed to trick people into thinking their Tweets were genuine. Naturally, people are curious as to how the social media giant is going to police its platform in the future. What’s more, a lot of the general public now uses Twitter as a news source, and many politicians even rely on the platform to stay in touch with their followers.

Now, you might be wondering why we’re spending so much time on Twitter when there are bigger and more important issues to discuss. The answer is that the British actor and wildlife documentary filmmaker Rob Pattinson is currently involved in a Twitter feud with the popular TV doctor, Andrew Murrell. The spat was apparently sparked by the fact that Murrell repeatedly called Pattinson a ‘fraudster’ on the platform.

Let’s take a look at the details surrounding this particular Twitter spat.

Who Is Rob Pattinson?

Before we begin, it’s worth noting that not all of Rob Pattinson’s tweets are created equal. The actor and filmmaker, whose professional name is Robert William Pattinson, is renowned for his popular series of Twilight Saga films. As of mid-2014, Rob had over 2.5 million followers on the micro-blogging platform, making him one of the platform’s most followed users. Additionally, Rob is a renowned wildlife documentary filmmaker, and he often uses his platform to promote conservation efforts. This year, he even filmed a PSA for the United Nations’ ‘Every Child Matters’ campaign in Bali, Indonesia.

The Dispute Between Rob and Murrell Begins

In mid-February 2014, after several months of relative quiet on Twitter, a strange tweet appeared from Rob’s verified account about the doctor and his wife. In the tweet, Rob declared that “the NHS[1] will be lucky to have either of [them] around for much longer.” The tweet gained over 4,000 likes and over 2,000 retweets, and it kicked off a series of angry replies from Twitter users critical of the actor. Some of these replies even compared him to infamous British con man William ‘Bill’ Hardcastle, whose scams included impersonating the King himself.

The Doctor’s Account Is Set Up To Mock Rob

On 22nd February 2014, the @AndrewMurrellMD account was created with the express purpose of provoking Rob’s followers. The account, which now has over 4.2 million followers, is a parody of sorts with doctored photos of the doctor with celebrities and famous faces. Since its inception, the account has mainly mocked Rob and his film projects or compared him to a conman. For example, in one of the account’s first Tweets, it declared “[Rob is] the second coming of Willy Con.”

‘Twilight’ Fans Attack The Doctor

It wouldn’t be a Twitter feud if there weren’t a few celebrities and public figures involved, and Rob’s recent spat with the doctor is no exception. One of the first people to hit back at the ‘twilight’ actor was Charlie D’Amelio, a screenwriter for the hit show Scandal and a freelance journalist. On 4th March 2014, Charlie tweeted:

My first and only concern after watching TWILIGHT is the alarming rate of VAMPIRE WHITE MALE IMMUNITY. Thanks to @robertpattinson for clarifying.

Since then, other fans of Rob’s work have gotten involved in the fight as well, including Felicity Huffman, whose ‘Twilight’ character was a vampire in the first film. According to Felicity, Twitter is filled with “sexually-charged threats” and “obnoxious, lying trolls” who are ruining the experience for others. This, of course, is not true. Rob’s fans are certainly passionate supporters and defenders of their favorite actor, but they are also intelligent individuals who often participate in debates about important policy issues.

‘Twilight’ Fans Underestimated The Importance Of Rob’s Comments

As we’ve established, the majority of Rob’s feuds on Twitter revolve around the impersonation of William Hardcastle. The reason for this is that Hardcastle imitated the King George VI in several of his infamous cons. One of the most famous cons from Hardcastle’s playbook involved him impersonating the King and claiming that he had changed his will. In reality, Hardcastle had already been convicted of this fraud when he passed away in 1967. In spite of this, the King George impersonation has become Hardcastle’s most recognizable trademark.

The Hardcastle Impersonation Is The Reason Why

The reason why everybody seems to be involved in this particular Twitter dispute is that Hardcastle is the grandfather of all of them. Rob’s father, Michael Pattinson, is actually William Hardcastle’s great-grandson. On the subject of the British actor’s legacy, Michael tweeted in March 2014:

Had the pleasure of meeting and talking to the marvelous @AndrewMurrellMD yesterday. He is the descendent of William HArdcastle, Grandfather of @robertpattinson. What an extraordinary man!

It seems that nobody is safe from the King George VI impersonation these days. Besides Rob, Charlie D’Amelio, and Andrew Murrell, the list of people who have fallen victim to the scam includes Elton John, Sting, and Rod Stewart.

The ‘Rob Pattinson’ Twitter Feud Continues

Despite the fact that he’s now in a Twitter fight with Andrew Murrell, Rob’s still got a few more ‘enemies’ to conquer. In fact, he’s previously fought with Charlie D’Amelio, an American screenwriter who worked on the hit TV shows Scandal and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and who claims to be Felicity Huffman’s nephew. Additionally, Rob has gotten into disputes with several of his ‘twilight’ costars who are now famous in their own right, including Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner. Lastly, he’s tangled with Russell Crowe, a disgraced music manager who allegedly forged Rob’s signature on a contract for Kylie Minogue. Despite these battles, however, Rob still considers himself “the good guy” in all of this.

Andrew Murrell’s Past Involvement In Scamming Cases

Before we wrap up this particular article, it’s important to point out that not everybody who is criticizing Rob on Twitter is some kind of troll. As we mentioned earlier, @AndrewMurrellMD is a parody account that mostly mocks Rob and his film projects. However, this does not mean that all of its followers are jerks. In fact, some of the account’s followers are actually quite intelligent individuals who have debated important issues with the doctor and even been involved in a few scam cases themselves.

What Can Twitter Do About This?

This is a tricky one. When Twitter first introduced the concept of ‘shadow banning,’ it gave users the ability to hide content they didn’t want to see on their feed. Unfortunately, since then, the platform has implemented several other updates that have hampered users’ ability to remain private. In a nutshell, Twitter’s various algorithms will often ‘recommend’ users follow or connect with certain people or organizations whether or not those users want to be associated with these individuals or groups. Additionally, Twitter has somewhat neutered the effect of shadow banning by allowing users to report and ban anybody from following them. Naturally, this has resulted in a few undesirable side effects.

The Rise Of The ‘Trolls’

On the subject of trolls, it is important to point out that this particular cohort has been steadily gaining ground over the past year. Since the beginning of 2014, the total number of anti-social, or ‘trollish,’ Tweets has increased by 22%, according to a study by the social media analytics firm Social Mention.