@Horse_ebooks was unmasked; or, When robots betray us

A spammy Twitter account is revealed to be run by human beings, and cyberspace throws a fit.

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The creators of @Horse_ebooks at the Fitzroy Gallery

The creators of @Horse_ebooks at the Fitzroy Gallery Photograph: BuzzFeed


Whoa, whoa, Internet, hold your horses. (See what we did there?) Today, social-media and click-bait sites erupted with the news that @Horse_ebooks, a popular Twitter account that seemed to be run by an accidentally profound spambot, was actually made by…HUMANS. Doing ART. And for some reason we can’t quite wrap our brains around, people are very, very angry about this.

On The New Yorker’s blog, Susan Orlean broke the news that the Twitter account is actually an online art piece by Jacob Bakkila (who works for Buzzfeed, natch) and Thomas Bender. The pair, along with Orlean herself, appeared this morning at the Fitzroy Gallery on the LES as part of an installation called BearStearnsBravo. In a fit of pique, the Internet reacted like a child who’d just been told Santa Claus isn’t real:


Getting mad at human beings making art for not being robots trying to rip us off? The Singularity approaches, brothers and sisters.

The only way this story could crawl any deeper up its own butt would be if it wasn’t Orlean who appeared at the gallery this morning, but Meryl Streep pretending to be Susan Orlean in Charlie Kaufman’s Adaptation. (Which—actually, he’s probably hiding behind a curtain somewhere orchestrating all this, right?)


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Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)

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