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Beloved journalist David Carr, who died last year, became a Twitter pornbot

Ashes to ashes, porn to bots.


Miles Klee

Internet Culture

In February 2015, media legend David Carr passed away. It was an occasion for much grieving on Twitter, a platform that the beloved journalist had admiringly called a “wired collective voice.” 

A little more than a year later, this is how Carr’s Twitter account looked:

Porn bots are given to scooping up dormant accounts, and the fact that Carr hadn’t tweeted since his death some 15 months ago would seem to explain why he was targeted. On the other hand, this was the exact wrong handle to snatch, since Carr’s Twitter fanbase is particularly attuned to the ins and outs—and visible flaws—of the social network.

Twitter, for its part, moved quickly to restore Carr’s feed as it was. It’s yet to issue comment about how the verified account of a deceased celebrity was evidently hacked by run-of-the-mill smut software.

Would Carr have found this incident unseemly, or just amusing? Shame he’s not around to write something about it. Or, for that matter, a piece about how many followers he’s lost and gained in the afterlife. Because while we may die in meatspace, on the digital side, you never log off.

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