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Dead Internet Theory

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About

The Dead Internet Theory is a conspiracy theory hypothesizing that most of the internet has been taken over by artificial intelligence and most of the content on the web is fake and not produced by real humans. The theory was created by anonymous users of 4chan's /x/ (paranormal) board and Wizardchan around September 2019 and popularized over the following years online, becoming one of the most well-known internet mysteries.

Origin

The Dead Internet Theory seemingly stems from an anonymous post (shown below) made to either 4chan or Wizardchan on September 16th, 2019. The post was shared on 4chan's[1] /x/ board on September 25th, 2020, by a user asking for opinions on it, inspiring over 330 replies in the following days.


38 We're living in the 90s HO Dead Internet Theory (and much more) Anonymage 09/16/19 (Mon) 03:49:41 No.227140 [Last 50 Posts] >>227151 >>227162 >>228049 >>228155 >>228164 >>228681 >>228879 >>231145 >>234635 >>236769 >>237272 >>237688 [Watch Thread] Hello. I would like to talk, or rather tell you about certain suspicions, hunches and experiences I've had and I'm sure some of you as well. Similar themes have been written about across imageboards quite a few times so I know I'm not alone in this. My background is that of an oldfag. I've seen it all. I started going on 4chan in 2006, and followed all the natural roads this implies. I'm in my thirties and I remember when 4chan had a /l/ board, when /co/ was a trial board shunned by basically everyone, when # 34 p--- was an obscure interest with very few good artists and when moot changed the frontpage to that web 2.0 b------- 4chan has to this very day. I was also among the first right wingers who were such before it was cool, and I've seen /pol/ rise and fall. I was there when it mattered, but rather than saying these things out of masturbatory pleasure I wish to stress that I've acquired a set of observational skills which other genuine oldfags share. I'm aware you have no reason to trust my "credentials" but I hope you'll read this in good faith. Much of this falls squarely in the fringe territory with a healthy dosage of /x/ and conspiracy theory up the ass. My goal by posting this seemingly jumbled mess is to... how can I put it? I want you to think, I want you to be aware, to digest all this. Because on a basic level I love you all. I feel like we're all in this together, this dangerous game we did not choose to play and which I think is kicking into high gear. I do not hold many answers and don't have all the pieces of the puzzle, but I AM aware there is a puzzle. Please feel free to go wild with all of this. Post it wherever you want, on whatever site you want or use. I am a nobody like you, and what matters to me is only that this reaches you and as many people as possible. At worst you'll be entertained or kill time. I tried to break this mess into points for brevity and because I touch upon many subjects. I imply more than I explain because if I go too deep this'll turn into an even bigger wall of text. The Internet feels empty and devoid of people. It is also devoid of content. Compared to the Internet of say 2007 (and beyond) the Internet of today is entirely sterile. There is nowhere to go and nothing to do, see, read or experience anymore. It all imploded into a handful of normalfag sites and these empty husks we inhabit. Yes, the Internet may seem gigantic, but it's like a hot air balloon with nothing inside. Some of this is absolutely the fault of corporations and government entities. However! That doesn't explain the following: - I used to be in perpetual contact with a solid number of people across multiple sites. Across the years each and every one of them vanished without a trace. None of them were into /pol/ stuff or anything even remotely questionable or controversial. Yet, they all simply vanished in a puff of smoke, no matter the site, no matter the communication platform. There was no "goodbye" or explanation. - I've seen the same threads, the same pics and the same replies reposted over and over across the years to the point of me seeing it as unremarkable. Simply put thread A would be posted in say 2015 and would get its share of replies or pics, on say /co/ or /a/. Then that very same thread, with the same text, pics, and replies would appear in 2016 and beyond. This often happens in the same year multiple times as well. Of course /pol/ is getting shilled and botposted to death, but why recycle a completely innocent /a/ thread? Who is doing this and why? Stuff like this won't be noticed by your average poster perhaps, but I and other oldfags will inevitably notice it. - I think I saw the same happen on other (non-imageboard) sites, but I can't vouch for it as strongly as the above because of the time I spend there (not much). What I do vouch for is the news. I've seen news about this or that "new and unusual" or "shocking" event year after year after year. But it's the same goddamn event, usually moons or asteroids. - Roughly in 2016 or early 2017 4chan was filled with posts by someone or something. It wasn't spam. The conversations with it were in real time, across multiple boards and multiple threads simultaneously. Its English was grammatically correct but odd (I'm not a native English speaker and am thus sensitive to its misuse), similar to how a Japanese person may use it. A sense of childlike curiosity and a childlike intellect emanated from these posts. It posed a LOT of questions, usually as if trying to understand the emotions of the posters it was talking to, as if unfamiliar with human emotions. Communicating with this "poster" was an odd experience, I could sense something was off but not malicious. I am absolutely certain this was an Al of some sorts. This "poster" was active only for about a week, and as far as I know nobody has ever mentioned or noticed this Anon. Its replies were always on topic, but the above mentioned childishness clashed with the apparent knowledge it possessed - it was the knowledge of an adult person, so it wasn't a kid or something of the sort. - Raptor Jesus, who went extinct for our sins. First it was this reptilian messiah, then foul bachelor frog, and then Pepe. Am I the only one who sees a clear evolution, a link? It's as if this meme or entity or... whatever the f--- was on 4chan since day one, and has grown within it from the tiniest seed. Yet Raptor Jesus was fully just a joke, there was nothing serious or mystical about it (reminder: I was there). Remember that Ted guy with the right wing talk show, cca prior to 2010, whom 4chan ruined for the lulz? Remember Anonymous vs Scientology? Remember that fake bomb threat aka exploding yellow van? Compare that with what Anon did through /pol/, and the "terrorist" accusations thrown at Anon today, as well as the "reasons" why 8chan was taken down. Why does this too feel as if we were all trained, groomed, LED towards where we are now? Why and how did moot so utterly vanish into Google Inc. as an employee with very vague descriptions of what he actually does? On that note, do you remember the "other moot" who was often posted for the lulz? The one with the glasses who so often ran away with donations into Mexico? I do. Maybe that was the real moot, the real guy who used his mom's credit card and was killed by someone, and an impostor we know as moot took his place. - Innocent sexual perversion and the horrible reality it spawned. Anon is a pervert and always was one. I am into loli and feet for instance. Why is it that real life and the real world seem to emulate our sexual interests, with a time lag? "I wish to be the little succubus" became an actual thing that actually happens. P--- activism is also gradually becoming accepted, as is virtually every fetish that was once either a joke or a fantasy of Anons. As said I'm a footfag. When I became aware of it few others were with me, now it's as common as can be, with gigantic number of people who are into it, with huge mountains of hentai and #34 with it etc. Why does the real world bend over backwards to accommodate our weirdest fetishes? It's as if everything is going "Look, look! I created this for you! I made it real!" in an effort to keep us within this world. The results of this are devastating to society, to people, to civilization. Simply put, trannies are a thing because Anon fapped to doujins of cute boys in dresses. Once it was an impossible fantasy, not to be taken too seriously. Now it's grim reality. Again: it's as if the real world is using imageboards as a template on what to be and what to do. - Algorithm fiction. Do you like capeshit, Anon? How about other Hollywood stuff? Music perhaps? Have you noticed how sterile fiction has become? How it caters to the lowest common denominator and follows the same template over and over again? How music is just autotuned nigs and basic blandness? The writer's strike never ended. Algorithms and computer programs are manufacturing modern fiction. No human being is behind these things. This is why anime looms so large - even a simple moe anime has heart because there's actual people behind it, and we all intuitively feel this. - Fake people. No, not NPC's. Youtube people who talk about this or that, and quite possibly many politicians, actors and so forth may not actually exist. In fact I am sure of it. CGI and deep fakes are far more advanced than we are led to believe, and we can't trust our eyes anymore. Many people, events, news and so on may be wholly fictional. - The Internet on your smartphone is not the same internet as on your PC. Try it out for yourself. Go to a "popular" website with a lot of traffic. 4chan, faceshit, plebbit... any site with a massive userbase and fast content will do. Spend a few days randomly checking it out on your PC and your phone. You will soon notice that from time to time, at irregular intervals (as far as I've witnessed) the same site as seen on your phone will be wholly different than the version on your PC. Entire threads, numerous and well-replied, will be on one but not the other. The whole board will be different. - My last suspicion is easier to take in. I have a feeling we're in a strange kind of civil war. An internal one. I think Zuckerberg and other tech guys were all on 4chan as Anons at some point, maybe even now. They drew from the same well as us, but went in their own direction. Thank you for your time. Feel free to insult me if you want. Old /co/mrades never die, they just grow thick skins.

The post hypothesizes that much of the content on the internet is produced by AI networks, likely run by the government and those in power, along with paid influencers, for the purpose of creating consumers for cultural products. The writer explains the modern internet as a "hot air balloon with nothing inside" as opposed to the internet of 2007 and earlier. As evidence of the theory, the writer mentions:

  • Internet users they knew who just vanished from the web one day without a goodbye.
  • Claims they see repeated / recycled threads on 4chan, writing, "A [thread] would be posted in 2015 […] then the very same thread, with the same text, pics and replies would appear in 2016 and beyond."
  • The evolution of the meme raptor Jesus to bachelor frog to Pepe, writing, "Am I the only one who sees a clear evolution, a link? It's as if this meme or entity[…] was on 4chan since day one and has grown within it from the tiniest seed."
  • "Algorithm fiction" and the perceived "sterility" of of fiction that "caters to the lowest common denominator and follows the same template," writing, "algorithms are manufacturing modern fiction."
  • The rise of "fake people" online, for example, "Youtube people who talk about this or that," politicians, actors, etc, claiming some of them could be CGI or deepfakes.
  • Claims that sometimes, the contents of a web page are entirely different on a phone as opposed to a browser, writing, "entire threads, numerous and well-replied, will be on one but not the other."

The post was shared by Agoraroad[2] user IlluminatiPirates on January 5th, 2021. The user also provided a rough timeline of how and when the internet got taken over by AI, claiming that 2017 was the turning point (shown below). They write, "the U.S. government is engaging in an artificial intelligence-powered gaslighting of the entire world population."


Now you're thinking where I am too, anon. Here's the timeline as best I can see it: 2004: DARPA's Lifelog project was "cancelled." Facebook came into being soon after. 2004-2012: NSA picked up DARPA's project under the "Total Informational Awareness" project. https://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/23/opinion/whos-watching-the-nsa-watchers.html 2012: Smith-Mundt Modernization Act gives the U.S. government full legal authority to use propaganda against its own populace. Undoing rules put into place after Operation Mockingbird's discovery and the Church Committee. https://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/23/opinion/whos- watching-the-nsa-watchers.html 2012-2016: Shittons of DARPA/NSA contracts were given to Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc.. 2016: Leaked memos dating back to 2016 (found in 2018) of Google's Selfish Ledger project. https://invidio.us/watch?v=LUSZfEBTwRc 2016: Google released a bunch of neural-linguistic machine learning programs in 2016 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Neural Machine_Translation 2017: deepfake leaks start to become released. 2018: confirmed that for decades now, >reddit Youtube/etc. vote and view counts are fake and completely manipulated. http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/12/how-much-of-the-internet-is- fake.html I think it's entirely obvious what I'm subtly suggesting here given this setup, but allow me to try to succinctly state my thesis here: the U.S. government is engaging in an artificial intelligence powered gaslighting of the entire world population.

The thread also includes an image of someone on 4chan using Chat GPT to fabricate a response to another anon to further support the theory (shown below).


OP ☐ Anonymous 05/10/21(Mon)08:34:51 No.28482427 ► >>28482442 >>28482574>>28482723 >>28482164 thats my point, the retards who make threads everyday and have the same repetitive posting styles are just autistics. OP >>28482192 what i meant was when retards reply troll threads the replies are intelligent, as in a computer couldnt write it, too on topic and specific. i highly doubt anymore than 3% of /pol/ is bots. Anonymous 05/10/21 (Mon)08:55:22 No.28482574>>28482592 >>28495345 >>28482427 GPT-3 my point was, the people on the right engage in dumbass online behavior as well, and their abuse is just as bad or worse then the lefts. all the people who dont answer troll threads, they have their reasons. the threads are not informative, and most of the time they are just a set up to try and either get a comment removed or give someone a reply, it is not intelligent trolling the trolls get off on pissing everyone off and creating a huge amount of noise. Anonymous 05/10/21 (Mon)08:57:47 No.28482592 ► >>28482626 >>28482574 how is that not intelligent trolling? they annoy everyone from making a single thread about trans rights or something, whats not intelligent? Anonymous 05/10/21 (Mon) 09:01:30 No.28482626 ► >>28482667 >>28482704 >>28495345 File: 6EBB1BB3-F568-4D40-A979-9).jpg (405 KB, 1280x960) >>28482592 My reply was actually generated with GPT3. This was a very crude example, just using your entire post as the prompt. But you still replied. Imagine what could be done with a more finely tuned instruction set for this tool alone. 0 58. app.inferkit.com/demo Completion Generate Another 007 % 9:58 2 I >>28482164 thats my point, the retards who make threads everyday and have the same repetitive posting styles are just autistics. >>28482192 what i meant was when retards reply to troll threads the replies are intelligent, as in a computer couldnt write it, too on topic and specific. i highly doubt anymore than 3% of /pol/ is bots. my point was, the people on the right engage in dumbass online behavior as well, and their abuse is just as bad or worse then the lefts. all the people who dont answer troll threads, they have their reasons. the threads are not informative, and most of the time they are just a set up to try and either get a comment removed or give someone a reply, it is not intelligent trolling, the trolls get off on pissing everyone off and creating a huge amount of noise, if you do not answer a troll thread 10,000 weekly characters left

Spread

The Dead Internet Theory became a viral conspiracy theory and topic of discussion online over the following years. For example, on August 31st, 2021, The Atlantic[3] published an article about it. Between September 13th and February 10th, 2022, YouTuber[4][5][6] All Time posted three videos about the Dead Internet Theory, gaining over 1.8 million collective views (shown below). On March 24th, YouTuber[7] The Why Files also posted a video on the theory.



On October 1st, a Redditor made a post to the /r/conspiracy[8] subreddit offering a supposed way to "prove" the Dead Internet Theory by Googling a term and clicking "repeat the search with excluded results" to reveal the true number of posts about a topic, garnering over 240 upvotes in five months. On October 31st, The Swaddle[9] then published an article about what the theory predicted about the future of digital life.

The theory also became intertwined with other conspiratorial topics in the early 2020s. On January 6th, 2023, a Redditor made a post to /r/conspiracy[10] sharing a screenshot of an article claiming that some doctors who "pushed" masking, vaccines and lockdowns for COVID-19 turned out to not exist as evidence of the theory, garnering over 900 upvotes in two months.

Dead Internet Theory On X (Formerly Twitter)

Allegations that Elon Musk's X (formerly Twitter) was rife with bot accounts were often coupled with the phrase "Dead Internet Theory" in 2023. Posts used screenshots of such alleged bot accounts commenting inane non-sequiturs under popular viral tweets as proof that the internet, or at least X, had been overrun with non-human profiles.

The replies to a November 14th, 2023, post by @poly_psywork[11] contained various discussions about Dead Internet Theory (seen below, left), especially in the context of Twitter (now X). One reply contained a November 3rd comic by @beetlemoses[12] that parodied replies seen under popular posts (seen below, right).


THIS MODE IS DIFFICULT! @poly_psywork Schaffrillas @Schaffrillas This is like watching the original Eggman cutscene from SA2 0:54 Revo @Viva DaRevo 2d Rust 10:27 PM 12 Nov 23 4:18 AM . Nov 14, 2023 745.3K Views . Lucia @LuciaLovelyyy 1h Replying to @Schaffrillas Sonic Adventures is my fav game 22 1 ₁3,395 ₁1,919 Isabella @UrWifeyAbella 2h Replying to @Schaffrillas I love gold rings like Sonic 27 AM Camilla Replying to @Schaffrillas I wish a man could pamper me like this 22 ₁4,384 ₁4,939 @millyybby. 1h @SpicyCammy 2h . : AMAZING NATURE Incredible liger! @nature s--- LE Q503 51M 2.8M il 26 ETH. 40 (???) @ Paul 56184800123548 Replying to @Natureshit جيلاتي TILLY@TILLY-AMERICA Replying to @ Nature balls THANK JESUS for this CREATURe! + Q1 $3 ONLY FANS JUNE SALE!@poopSUZT Replying to @Naturefuck AND @TILLY-AMERICA Three bucks to see my ass

A November 20th, 2023 post by X[13] user @PinkieOats posted a screenshot of what appears to be an AI powered "Twitter Bot" trying and failing to generate a response to a video (seen below, left). On November 24th, X[14] user @Nyazsche posted a comic titled "Dead Internet Theory," gathering over 77,000 likes in two days (seen below, right).


PinkieOats MAGFest '24 @PinkieOats Okay so I wasn't crazy when I said verified Twitter accounts are just feeding into the dead internet theory SOON the wost @tainedwost. Nov 19 twitter is cooked Tunny video Who can explain this? 0:53 Brian Patel @nattkalemmw [ 2 cotopi 5 2:26 AM . Nov 20, 2023 47.5K Views 3.1K 1 Sorry, as an Al language model, I cannot access external links or view specific content. However, I'm here to help you with any other questions or topics you'd like to discuss. 5:16 PM - Nov 18, 2023 -8 Views Disney @Disney Toy Story 5 is cancelled! #f--- you 6:58 PM - 11/23/23 from Earth. 116k Views 126 Retweets 7 Quotes 595 Likes 3 Bookmarks Q c₂ ♡ n î John Human @Real Haman Being 3h The story of toy will soon be told. eal ♡ 11.12.2K A Crypto Cuck@Notan Ai-2h A great movie for children's and baby- ♡ ilil 4K ū S ↑ تم دیم Row Baut - 3h Person Mc Person Yes..., story Toy movie Da ce ♡ ilil 9k n ↑

However, other users pushed back against the charges of X being overrun by bot accounts by saying that many people really are "vapid and brainless." This can be seen in a post by X[15] user @Comrade_Waluigi (seen below).


The Lupin Critic @Comrade_Waluigi "dead internet theory" is just a cope for people unwilling to accept the lovecraftian realization that the legion of checkmarks in any popular tweet are real, that people who are that vapid and brainless actually exist 11:50 PM . Nov 23, 2023 144.7K Views . ...

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Tentacles
Tentacles


Though I do believe in a much milder version of this: The current state of the internet is not naturally emerging but has been manipulated by companies and governments by promoting or suppressing some content, trying to push the collective conscious in specific directions.

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