Tweeting from a Fridge Is Possible, but the #FreeDorothy Saga Is Likely Fake

A 15-year-old girl’s desperate attempts to keep her social media followers up to speed after her mother took away her electronics have turned her into a viral star. Dorothy will probably be remembered as the first person to tweet from an LG smart refrigerator. But did she really?

It started early this month, when Dorothy, an Ariana Grande fan under the Twitter handle @thankunext327, tweeted that her mother had confiscated her phone, leaving her no option to post to social media but her Nintendo 3DS console. While she was still looking for her phone around the house, she had the gaming console taken away as well.

Next, she posted from her Nintendo Wii U, using screenshots of the notepad from Minecraft, because the console allows shorter messages of only 80 characters. Dorothy said little in these messages except that her mother kept taking her tweeting devices away while she was still looking for her phone.

Then, on August 8, Dorothy launched the tweet that would bring her global stardom, however short-lived: “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 source tweet label next to the timestamp read “LG Smart Refrigerator.”

The #FreeDorothy saga was now a viral phenomenon: a girl was tweeting from her smart fridge through dictation. Even Twitter and LG chimed in, posting messages with the now-trending hashtag, while Dorothy was amassing followers by the thousands. We live in a world where smart home appliances are becoming the norm, so no one stopped to wonder whether this was actually real.

Dorothy even gave interviews via Twitter DMs, using her cousin’s iPad, to outlets like The Guardian and NY Mag, offering few details about her life as a 15-year-old punished with a technology ban for causing a small fire because she was on her phone while cooking.

For all the efforts to make herself heard on social media, Dorothy went strangely quiet whenever asked about the model of fridge that allowed her to tweet messages with this specific source label. LG themselves said that, while some of their models have Internet access and come with a browser, they include no Twitter app. Use any of them to tweet and the source tweet will read “web browser” and not “LG Smart Refrigerator,” like it did in Dorothy’s case.

One thread on reddit shows that Twitter sources can be made to read whatever you want with a simple Twitter applet on the developers’ page that lets you type in the exact name of the device. You can make it out to be anything, from a Gucci Toilet, as happened with another viral tweet years ago, to an LG Smart Refrigerator.

Igor Brigadir, a computer researcher at University College Dublin, told The Guardian that the metadata for all Dorothy’s tweets show that they are legitimate, except for the one supposedly sent from the fridge. “The LG fridge [tweet] was definitely manually created,” Brigadir adds.

LG says they’re not involved in some kind of marketing ploy with Dorothy: they only posted a hashtag that was trending and they assumed was legitimate, without looking into it. “We don’t know if Dorothy actually used an LG smart refrigerator to tweet, but yes – it is possible to access Twitter via the web browser on select LG smart refrigerator models,” LG spokeswoman Taryn Brucha tells The Guardian.

There are also questions about Dorothy’s identity and whether she even exists. Reports on Twitter suggest she’s opened multiple accounts recently, with some accusing her of catfishing and of making derogatory remarks about gays and minorities. It’s a modern-day drama possibly crafted for attention and hits. So, yes, you can tweet from a smart home appliance like a refrigerator, but the world wouldn’t know it by the source label visible with the post. Dorothy tells a compelling story, but it’s most likely a fake one.

Image credit: LG

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