Today on the Internet, one of Twitter’s most popular spambot accounts, @Horse_ebooks, was determined to be not a spambot at all, but a real person, much to the disappointment of its thousands of followers.
To back up, the @Horse_ebooks account has been around since 2010, though it only started tweeting regularly in 2011. Its tweets were a sometimes funny and sometimes poetic mix of words that seemed to have been pulled at random from eBooks on the Internet. Spammy links to eBook sites were sometimes thrown in for good measure.
The account brought us gems like: “You tell them to simply say the names of the suits one after” and “make wishes for the things” and “everything happens so much.” Nobody knew what @Horse_ebooks would tweet next, and this mix of mystery and charm helped launch it into Internet meme status. The mystery of @Horse_ebooks intrigued Internet users. It looked a whole lot like a spambot, but maybe, just maybe, there was a real person behind it.
Today, however, a blog post at The New Yorker revealed that the account was operated by a real live person. Or, two live people, to be exact: Jacob Bakkila and Thomas Bender, both of whom work, or worked, at Buzzfeed.
It was revealed, also, that the duo ran Pronunciation Book, another popular social media account on Youtube. Pronunciation Book created “How to Pronounce” videos, which also seemed to be random, but strangely poetic. The two accounts had already started merging their messages and followers noticed. “In the past few weeks, plenty of people have noticed some synchronicity between the accounts, and have been scrambling to figure out their provenance,” writes Susan Orlean over at The New Yorker blog.
On Tuesday, @Horse_ebooks tweeted a link to a Pronunciation Book video, proving that the two are, indeed, linked, as part of an art project calling itself Bear Stearns Bravo.
Here’s the video:
You had us fooled, @Horse_ebooks, fooled for a long time. Now, it’s over to Bear Stearns Bravo to make the next move.