Let's Talk About That Fake Chance the Rapper Tweet

Chance the Rapper didn't come up with this, but neither did fake-Chance.

By Shawn Cooke Sep 7, 2017

Long before fake news became part of the vernacular, getting duped by misinformation was a pretty innocuous thing. Thinly veiled "parody" accounts have existed on Twitter for about as long as the platform itself, and they're usually easy enough to identify if you're on the lookout for a blue checkmark. But over Labor Day weekend, one such tweet from a deceptively fake Chance the Rapper account (same avatar, similar Twitter name and handle, but flip-flopped) was shared more rapidly than anything from real Chance the Rapper:

We're obviously stretching the definition of parody here, as many of these accounts do, from "comic imitation" to "ham-fisted, if well-intentioned uplift." The sentiments are honest, worthwhile, and not far off from something real-Chance the Rapper might say about mental health awareness, but in this case, they're not something he said—or even something @ChanceFrom79th came up with. As one user points out in the mentions, just one day before fake-Chance fired off the tweet, which has been liked more than 679,000 times and counting, another account masquerading as R&B breakout star Khalid tweeted the exact same thing—albeit to less fanfare.

Fake-Khalid ... also didn't come up with the tweet. The earliest Twitter search result with fake-Chance's exact phrasing stems from July 25 and a user named Dani Kroll. Her original tweet went pretty viral in its own right, picking up more than 5,000 retweets and 21,000 likes—and spawned literally hundreds of plagiarists before working its way to parody accounts of music's biggest young stars. (TrackRecord has reached out to Kroll for comment.)

Parody accounts, while mostly harmless, are designed for a unique type of RT-thirsty grifter who wants to avoid the vanity associated with going viral under their own name. And what better way to get someone's attention than presenting yourself as one of the most popular artists working today? @ChanoFrom79th's Twitter bio instructs us to "DM for promo"—it immediately bounced back when I tried to message—so there seem to be some ambitions beyond a Chance the Rapper parody/fan account.

The mentality behind parody accounts is similar to Yik Yak, the short-lived attempt at an anonymous, proximity-based social network. The app trusted that a simple up-or-down vote system would curb harassment and other misinformation, which wasn't entirely successful. Any adverse effects aside, the appeal of getting a top post in your region was clear: Who wouldn't want the same dopamine rush of going viral without any of the accountability?