Explaining the connections between his experience and the episode, Brooker told BBC: “My own incident pre-dated Twitter, and my vilification was done by good old-fashioned email, but some of the characters in ‘Hated in the Nation’ say things that I was experiencing at the time.” He also did some research on what it’s like for people to deal with this sort of thing in the Twitter age: “I also read a book for research that deals with people caught up in Twitter storms. The author hangs out with them and sees how devastated they are, often by the sheer volume of comments they receive.”
It’s what makes “Hated in the Nation” feel so cathartic to anyone who’s ever been dogpiled on the internet. The episode’s a keenly-observed breakdown of how people feel comfortable saying terrible things to strangers in a public forum; it juxtaposes the horrific deaths of the internet’s victims with the callous, self-righteous tweets behind the #DeathTo movement. It results in an episode that should make anyone who’s participated in a Twitter pile-on pause and wonder, at least for a moment, if they’d really been doing the right thing.
Then, in what could easily be seen as poetic justice, the tables turn. It turns out that the guy engineering the murders was only doing it as a trap. His real targets were all the people who like to take part in these Twitter storms, and they’re all murdered by the bees at once. The death toll is in the hundreds of thousands. But despite Brooker’s legitimate beef with people who do this stuff, the conclusion to “Hated in the Nation” is clearly not supposed to be a happy one.