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The Horse is a Lie: 'horse_ebooks' Twitter spam is performance art


Twitter is quite the medium. An endless source of looping GIFs, "viral" videos, and, sadly, bad advertising. Most of the latter category is quickly dismissed by the block and report spam features of Twitter, but the occasional spambot elevates its "craft" to a level of surreal bliss which begs attention. "horse_ebooks" is perhaps Twitter's best example of that phenomenon, offering indecipherable (and delightful) missives that are heavily retweeted and always nonsensical. "How to get the best bargains in satellite," for instance. Sadly, it looks like we've all been had.

What many (ourselves included) thought to be an accidentally hilarious spam account for a low-rent eBook publishing firm is actually a long-running art installation by Jacon Bakkila (a 29-year-old Buzzfeed employee). Bakkila outed the ruse this morning in an exhibit at New York City's FitzRoy Gallery named "Horse_ebooks 2," where Bakkila himself and two friends are answering phones all day (from 10AM to 9PM ET) and giving users a verbal taste of the content you'd normally read on...well, the horse_ebooks Twitter account (the phone number is 213-444-0102 if you'd like to call).

It's unclear if the account will continue from here. It sounds like a no, though, as Bakkila tells The New York Times that, "The goal was not to appropriate the account but to become the account," referencing the account's previous Russian owner and its original use (to sell eBooks). Gawker's got a walkthrough of the art gallery installation right here, should you wish to dive even deeper into this madness.

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