A person claiming to be a teenage girl named “Dorothy” went viral on Twitter this week after allegedly tweeting from her smart fridge — but the claim appears to be nothing more than a hoax.
The saga began Aug. 8 when “Dorothy,” an Ariana Grande stan account that tweets with the handle @thankunext327, began tweeting about a dilemma. Dorothy claimed her mother had taken away her phone so she was no longer able to tweet.
She claimed to have posted this “goodbye” message from her Nintendo 3DS.
Over the next few days Dorothy tweeted several more times, claiming she had found other devices with access to Twitter, including her Nintendo Wii.
However, she said she kept getting foiled by her mother, who would just take away whatever device she had figured out how to tweet from.
So, finally, she got desperate and tweeted via voice dictation from her “LG Smart Refrigerator.” She wrote, “I do not know if this is going to tweet I am talking to my fridge what the heck my Mom confiscated all of my electronics again.”
The source text on the tweet read “LG Smart Refrigerator.” The tweet soon went viral, and everyone thought it was hilarious.
Twitter and the appliance manufacturer LG even showed their support, tweeting at Dorothy using the hashtag #FreeDorothy.
Dorothy soon thanked everyone for their support, again from the “fridge.”
Dorothy even did interviews with news outlets like the Guardian, which claimed it had exchanged messages with the teen using “her cousin’s iPad.” Dorothy told the outlet she was 15 years old and had been banned from using electronics after starting a fire while cooking. The story was also reported by CBS News, BBC, and others.
The Guardian reported that Dorothy wouldn’t reveal her last name and LG wouldn’t comment, but “the tweet source confirms it was sent from the device.”
But what those stories failed to note is that it is surprisingly easy to pretend to tweet from basically anywhere by creating your own Twitter source. A step-by-step guide posted by one user and this Reddit post lay out a “fridge” example.
It’s so easy, in fact, that tweeting “from” random places is a meme.
Like this guy, who went viral earlier this year.
My colleague Jon Passantino gave it a try and made this.
A spokesperson for LG confirmed to BuzzFeed News on Wednesday that none of its smart refrigerators have a Twitter app installed. There is a web browser on some models, from which a user could hypothetically tweet — but since you’re using a web browser, any tweets would state you posted from the web.
LG did not respond to multiple questions about how a tweet sent from a smart fridge would appear online.
A search of Twitter sources also shows no one else has tweeted from an “LG Smart Refrigerator.”
In an interview with Dorothy conducted over Twitter direct message, the person told BuzzFeed News she was using her cousin’s iPod to access the service, but it was running out of battery because her “chargers were confiscated.”
Dorothy said she posted her now-viral tweet from an “LG Smart Refrigerator,” but when asked to be more specific about the appliance model, she said she didn’t want to talk anymore, calling this reporter’s line of questioning “rude.”
Meanwhile, other Ariana Grande stan accounts began tweeting about their encounters with Dorothy. It’s all too messy to get into in a post about a fridge, but the claims against Dorothy include catfishing and using different accounts of “teen girls” to spread hateful rhetoric.
It’s unclear who Dorothy actually is and if she is in fact a teen.
Meanwhile, Dorothy continues to retweet messages from her supporters (how? no idea).
Dorothy has now amassed more than 32,000 followers on Twitter. Asked by New York Magazine if she was faking the whole thing, she offered this response:
“I wish it was a joke.”
John Paczkowski contributed reporting to this story.