Have you heard the story about a girl who died in 1989, and tweeted a photo in 1992 of Justin Bieber, who wasn’t even born yet? Is there any truth to this story, or is it just another internet urban legend?
Let’s take a look at one incarnation of the story, often circulated as a graphic containing the following text:
“You’ve probably all heard of @bieberlicious51 who tweeted only one thing, which is a link to a Tumblr post. So far, so good. Now the shocking thing: Twitter was created in 2006 but the tweet was posted on October 12th in 1992. Plus, her icon is Justin but he was born in 1994, two years after the tweet. How is that possible? There are plenty defaults since 2011 and users have found several twitter accounts who “tweeted” before the Social Network did even exist. But this isn’t a fault, many people are truly afraid of these tweets. I, Liam Ryan, and internet academic, am afraid. My team and I tried to find more information about that girl, we used special tricks to track her, we talked to her family which told us that the girl died in a car accident in 1989. She didn’t even know that her dead daughter was on the internet since the World Wide Web was barely known back then.
No matter if it’s just a prank, a complicated system or something else: This is a mystery and it drives us crazy. There’s nothing we can do about it, no way to find out how and when and that’s what makes the whole scandal about tweets before 2006 so scary”
Indeed, if you take a look at the bieberlicious51 profile, it does contain a single tweet dated October 11, 1992. This tweet is a link to a Tumblr post of a Justin Bieber photo. The photo is from a vacation to Mexico in 2011 with Selena Gomez. You can see more photos from this shoot here, along with the original which also contains Gomez – which was cropped out in the version in this post.
Our explanation of all of this? What sounds more plausible – a ghost sending out a tweet to a domain that didn’t exist, using code that hadn’t been written… or someone figured out a way to hack the date and posted a recent picture of Justin Bieber? We’ll go with the latter.
The Bieberlicious51 account was created on December 11, 2011, which is probably when the tweet was actually sent out, and somehow the date was hacked or altered to show 1992. This was also a mere three days after the Justin Bieber photo was taken. Whatever the motivation for this hoax is, it has worked, as the account has over 30,000 followers as of this writing.
Twitter was created in 2006
Tumblr was created in 2007
The Justin Photo was posted on 12/8/2011
Bieberlicious51′s account was created on 12/11/2011
This is surely a hoax.