The internet is littered with hyper-specific online communities, each with its own quirks and eccentricities, many of which inevitably devolve into some degree of toxicity. This is how things have gone since the earliest Usenet groups. That said, it’s still unlikely that even the most irony-poisoned, internet-literate expert could have predicted that a pretend ant colony on Facebook would have gotten off the rails so quickly.
“A group where we all pretend to be ants in an ant colony” is a private Facebook group that was created 10 months ago and currently boasts upwards of 1.7 million members; in the last 30 days, they’ve created a whopping 10,000 posts. The posts appear to be memes centered around normal ant activities (i.e. BITE, LIFT, WORK, and ATTACC) that then receive tens of thousands of responses from committed ants, excited to confirm which action their ant avatar is currently performing.
After penning a piece on the group, Buzzfeed reporter Ryan Broderick connected with some members to get the scoop on recent colony events for his Garbage Day newsletter,. “The number of commenters/comments are batshit insane,” writes user Kádár. “It’s wreaking havoc on my Facebook timeline because if there is an ‘active’ post, people keep commenting and my timeline just scrolls by itself [because] Facebook is updating in real time.”
Broderick also reports that the ant colony has recently taken to raiding other Facebook groups, specifically “The Road To El Dorado Goldposting” group, which, if it’s somehow unclear, is for fans of The Road To El Dorado and other late-90s/early-2000s DreamWorks Animation fare. Like ants swarming a picnic, these users have a tendency to overwhelm, pincers at the ready.
For the most part, however, the ant group appears to be harmless. It certainly may seem strange and inscrutable from the outside, but, then again, these are strange times. We just hope the colony never uses their power for evil or finds a way to team up with the murder hornets. Then we’d really be in trouble.
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