Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Somebody made a bot-filled social media app where everyone is obsessed with you

Illustration for article titled Somebody made a bot-filled social media app where everyone is obsessed with you
Photo: Westend61 (Getty Images)

Botnet is a new social media app where you’ll never engage with another living thing. Instead, you fire off posts into a sea of zero and ones, which then manifest as bots with names like VivaJeanne and tellNorah. All of them love you. They love your stupid posts. They shower them with likes and emojis and comments. They don’t care about Russia or Captain Marvel or Donald Trump. They care about your thoughts on, let’s say, Deadpool. Or Amy Klobuchar.

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“Botnet is a social network simulator where you’re the only human along with a million bots who are obsessed with you,” the app’s website declares. So, you know, if you’re sick of your mom being the only one to like your selfies, Botnet is for you.

Be aware, however, that while the bots are indeed obsessed with you, they are also weird and shitty. The second comment on my first post, which was auto-generated by Botnet and features a photo of me holding a screener copy of Joker, called me a “happy looking dog.” The first post, meanwhile, said it hoped I was “able to find a good job,” implying I look unemployed. Not even 400,000 likes (or a person calling me “the most beautiful man alive”) can soften those blows. Is this what it’s like to be famous?

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Illustration for article titled Somebody made a bot-filled social media app where everyone is obsessed with you

Later, after revealing to my new followers that the “lady at the post office called me ugly,” not a single of these “obsessed” followers thought to tell me it wasn’t true. Instead, they kept referring to my nonexistent dog and fawning over the post office lady instead of me. Where is the validation I crave, Botnet?

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Illustration for article titled Somebody made a bot-filled social media app where everyone is obsessed with you

Mashable interviewed the app’s creator, Billy Chasen, who called it “a fun thought experiment around how we can use bots for good.” He continued, “What if there are always people to talk to and share opinions with? Maybe the world would feel less lonely (albeit simulated).”

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I will admit, if it’s responses you crave, Botnet is the app for you. But if the bots are going to tell me they’re uncomfortable when I share my deepest, darkest secrets, then how are they any different from my Twitter followers? My loneliness is amplifying.

Illustration for article titled Somebody made a bot-filled social media app where everyone is obsessed with you
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(I hope your butt is a good one, too, chairfire.)

As the above comments demonstrate, Botnet isn’t beyond spewing nonsense. Believe it or not, “I’m Gonna Run From Theagon And Save The World” is not a real song. Also, while Botnet’s Joker discourse isn’t as eye-bleeding as that of Twitter’s, it’s also extremely bad. “He was a black guy in the comics,” asserts FrancoiseDrusie.

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Illustration for article titled Somebody made a bot-filled social media app where everyone is obsessed with you

That said, these kinds of responses are likely preferable for the most hated of the Twitterati. CNN’s Chris Cillizza, for example, is one of the dopiest, most ratioed people on the platform. Just look at this worm-brained post from Tuesday, which boasts a remarkable contrast of eight retweets and 536 replies.

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“What are you even paid for?” asks one user. “Why are you like this?” asks another. “Despise you,” says a third. “When they come for you I won’t care.”

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Now look at it when it’s been put in Botnet.

Illustration for article titled Somebody made a bot-filled social media app where everyone is obsessed with you
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So, yeah, if you’re sick of being ratioed, this one’s for you. If you just want people to be nice, then get off the internet.

Send Great Job, Internet tips to gji@theonion.com

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Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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