Update: @bill_nye_tho’s creator says he’s shutting down the account. RIP
If Twitter is attempting to foment a violent backlash amongst its most addicted users, it is doing an excellent job. After banning a journalist during the Olympics and yanking API access from third party clients, we are beginning to think that Twitter is being advised by a pompous and unpopular foreign dictator. “Sure, eradicate TwitPic. They’ll never revolt.”
But if we were the fightin’ kind, Twitter’s latest unforgivable move would surely be the last straw. The company has suspended what is by far the best parody account ever, @bill_nye_tho, an absurdist imagining of what childhood science hero Bill Nye would sound like if he was a stoned millennial with a penchant for Internet speak.
The genius of @bill_nye_tho–reminiscent of the YOLO-ing class clown, if he was into science– is hard to pin down, so here are a few examples, care of Buzzfeed:
Until the account was suspended, the mastermind behind @bill_nye_tho remained a mystery. But last night, Lucas Gardner, a writer for Laughspin.com with a hilarious Twitter of his own, outed himself as the account’s creator.
@Bill_Nye_Tho. @BillNyeDoe is not me. neither are the other ones, fyi. please r/t,” he tweeted, along with a screenshot of Twitter’s message notifying him of the suspension. A new parody account, purporting to be penned by the same creator of @Bill_Nye_Tho, had cropped up in the hours following the suspension, but it was decidedly more hackneyed than its predecessor. Mr. Gardner came forward in order to stymy the false notion that the accounts were run by the same person.
We’ve reached out to both Mr. Gardner and for comment but haven’t heard back. Twitter told us, “We don’t comment on individual accounts, for privacy reasons.”
While Betabeat hasn’t been able to independently verify Mr. Gardner’s claim, it’s hard to imagine that someone who makes a living as a comedy essay writer would sully his reputation with a fake claim to fame–especially one that would be so easy to debunk. However, using an application like Firebug, it would be pretty easy to mock up a fake screenshot.
But a Google cache search reveals that @bill_nye_tho has been retweeting a ton of Mr. Gardner’s tweets–including links to his blog posts–lending further credibility to his claim.
While Twitter has yet to respond to our request for comment, a perusal of its terms of service and rules indicate a few problems @bill_nye_tho may have encountered. First, despite the plethora of parody accounts, it’s against Twitter’s rules to impersonate someone. The rule reads: “You may not impersonate others through the Twitter service in a manner that does or is intended to mislead, confuse, or deceive others.”
It’s hard to believe anyone would think that @bill_nye_tho was the real Bill Nye–especially since the profile explicitly stated it wasn’t the real Bill Nye and even linked to the actual Bill Nye’s profile, @thescienceguy. But perhaps the real Mr. Nye complained and Twitter obliged.
Mr. Gardner may also have some trouble ever reclaiming @bill_nye_tho, much to the dismay of his legions of fans. “We reserve the right at all times (but will not have an obligation) to remove or refuse to distribute any Content on the Services, to suspend or terminate users, and to reclaim usernames without liability to you,” reads Twitter’s terms of service.
Meanwhile, @bill_nye_tho fans are galvanizing for that revolution. “yo does
@twitter have an embassy we can burn or something?” tweeted one. “we aint taking this @bill_nye_tho suspension lightly b.”
A Massachusetts resident named Rob Wilber has started a Change.org petition to repeal the suspension of @bill_nye_tho:
Every so often, a Twitter account comes along that changes the game. On a website littered with soulless, moronic “parody” accounts that imagine what Will Ferrell, Chris Rock, and Ted from the movie “Ted” would say if they were they were given a comedic lobotomy and the interests of a tween, @Bill_Nye_Tho was a beacon of education, laughter, and hope.
This is truly the most important cause of our time.