Late Friday Night, Twitter was abuzz with shock as it seemed OJ Simpson had joined the social media platform and tweeted “I killed her.” Considering it has been just over 25 years since the murder of Nicole Brown, it seemed pretty clear who the “her” referred to might be. But all things are not what they seem on Twitter. So here’s the breakdown on how a lot of people were fooled.
It began with a video.
Coming Soon!!! pic.twitter.com/R1tXOuuLgO— O.J. Simpson (@TheRealOJ32) June 15, 2019
At 11:57 PM (ET) on June 14, this video was posted to @TheRealOJ32, an account that has gained over 623,000 followers since its creation. In the vid Simpson declares:
“Hey Twitter World, this is yours truly. Now, coming soon to Twitter, you’ll get to read my thoughts and opinions on just about everything. Now, there’s a lot of fake OJ accounts out there. So this one—@TheRealOJ32—is the only official one. So, this should be a lot of fun. I’ve got a little getting even to do. So God bless. Take care.”
As you might imagine, Simpson’s saying “I’ve got a little getting even to do” disturbed some Twitter users, and many a joke was made about the horror of learning OJ Simpson is following you on the platform. Here, we note: in the criminal court, Simpson was found not guilty of murdering Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman. However, in the civil lawsuit filed by the Brown and Goldman families, Simpson was found responsible for both deaths. So, the public perception of Simpson is complicated to say the least.
Anyhow, @TheRealOJ32 is not a verified Twitter account, which means Twitter has not confirmed it belongs to OJ Simpson. But the video where he says the name seems proof enough, right? So when @TheReaIOJ32 posted the video and then the alarming tweets below, many thought it was the real Simpson doing so.
These are screenshots I took in the middle of the night, as you can see from the time-stamp at the top. But here’s the thing, shortly after Simpson created his account, the veracity of which has been confirmed by AP News, several copycat accounts popped up to tweet provocations using VERY similar handles (click to expand).
The one in the middle is what AP News cites as legit. There, more videos from Simpson have been posted, in which he talks about “counterfeit sites”—meaning counterfeit Twitter accounts—and rumors that he had an affair with Kris Jenner.
The one on the left is a solid fake at first glance. But if you look closely, you’ll see the “O” in “OJ” is actually a zero (0). The copycat account @TheReal0J32 has been posting things like this:
Whereas the one on the right, @The_OJSimpson32 used an underscore, and has been posting things like this:
The account that tweeted the “I killed her” was the most clever fakeout of all. @TheReaIOJ32 reposted the OJ vid (pictured above), which gave the counterfeit account credence. And for its handle, the now-suspended account used Twitter’s font against the platform. On Twitter, a lower-case l and a capital I look the same. It was @TheReaIOJ32 versus @TheRealOJ32. This simple substitution made its tweets seem legit, even fooling a handful of sites over the weekend.
So, did OJ Simpson use Twitter to confess to the murder of Nicole Brown? No, he did not. That tweet was a hoax. And one that might recur.
At the time of posting, Twitter has still not verified Simpson’s account. So, be wary about tweets claiming they are from the “real” Simpson.
Image sources (in order of posting): Getty, Screenshots made by Pajiba