That didn’t take long.
News outlets like CBS, the BBC, and The Guardian recently reported that a 15-year-old Kentucky girl used her smart refrigerator to post a tweet. The story went viral, but now the whole thing is being called a hoax.
The short story is a Twitter user going by the name of @thankunext327 claimed to be a 15-year-old girl named Dorothy whose mother had confiscated all of her electronic devices. Finding herself without a way to tweet, and growing increasingly distraught, the resourceful Dorothy used voice dictation on her LG smart refrigerator to tweet this message:
“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 tweet went viral (it currently has over 75,500 likes) and the hashtag #FreeDorothy was born. Even Twitter and LG used the #FreeDorothy hashtag to tweet their support for Dorothy.
Dorothy was beside herself with gratitude. Here’s what she tweeted.
Dorothy’s viral tweet indicates the source was an LG Smart Refrigerator. Not only that, but Dorothy even did an interview with The Guardian, telling the publication that her mom had taken away her cell phone, her Nintendo, and her Wii, and she was forced into using the fridge. She even said she was using her cousin’s iPad to exchange messages for the interview.
So how do we know Dorothy was pulling our strings?
BuzzFeed says it is “surprisingly easy” to create a Twitter source from pretty much any smart device. They even point to a step-by-step how-to guide that you can find on Reddit (link below). I checked it out myself and it’s just eight simple steps that even the least technically-inclined among us can follow.
Check out this tweet where the user was able to fake the source:
A spokesperson for LG told BuzzFeed News that although its smart refrigerators do not have a Twitter app installed, a user could theoretically post a tweet via a web browser that is available on some models. But, said LG, the tweet would indicate it was posted from the web — not the refrigerator.
BuzzFeed News exchanged messages with Dorothy (who told them she was using her cousin’s iPad) in an attempt to find out if she pulled the wool over all our eyes. When the reporter asked her to be more specific about the model refrigerator she supposedly used, Dorothy ended the interview, saying the reporter was rude.
Since the now-infamous refrigerator tweet was posted, other Twitter users have accused Dorothy of being a fake.
“…the claims against Dorothy include catfishing and using different accounts of ‘teen girls’ to spread hateful rhetoric,” says BuzzFeed. “It’s unclear who Dorothy actually is and if she is a teen.”