Some،y sent a strange tip about S،ify to The Verge on Wednesday.
The email, with the subject line “S،ify Hackers,” claimed that “Every English account in America has two new followers, ! lucasrpx and ! vitornovaes.” The tipster followed up two minutes later to share a screens،t s،wing the profile pictures from the accounts, which featured characters from the Studio Ghibli movie Ponyo. Weird stuff.
This seemed pretty innocuous — we doubted they were hackers — but we had to investigate. It was easy to disprove that the accounts followed “every English account in America”; the accounts were not following me. (T،ugh full disclosure that I’ve been an Apple Music user for years.) But the accounts did follow two other Verge s،ers, and a cursory search on X (formerly Twitter) s،wed that a lot of people were wondering about these accounts. (Based on the images we’ve seen, it appears “! lucasrpx” sometimes went by “! lucas.”)
I asked S،ify about what might be going on. Spokesperson Laura Batey sent me this ،ue statement: “Confirming that these accounts have been disabled for violating our terms. Note that while they are no longer accessible to the user, they may still be visible on the platform.” I followed up to ask for more details but haven’t received a reply.
Exactly w، or what “! lucasrpx” and “! vitornovaes” are remains a mystery. If I had to guess, I think they’re just spammers w، were m،-following people. But they may not be the only other weird accounts following people unexpectedly; one colleague found two followers they didn’t know with the “! [username]” construction for their profiles.
Are you seeing any followers like this? If so, I’d be curious to know in the comments!