If you’ve been on the internet, you’ve seen commenters or social media accounts claiming to have the lowdown. Right before the most recent Nintendo Direct, a new Twitter account called Waddle Dee Knows did just that by making a flurry of predictions. Some of them, including a new Super Mario Strikers and a Wii Sports sequel, were right, and were made hours before the Direct began. But it was all a hoax.
Waddle Dee Knows seemed like they knew something.
Not everything was on the nose. There were some oddball predictions, like the “news” that Nintendo was publishing an Encanto game developed by Bandai Namco for a May reveal. For the announcements the account didn’t guess at all, there was an explanation. “Mario Kart 8 DLC was a surprise,” wrote Waddle Dee Knows. “Doesn’t seem many people outside the dev team knew it was coming up.”
But Waddle Dee didn’t only not know about that—he knew about none of it, and was certainly no insider.
“This account was an experiment to see how easy it is to fake it and make it,” tweeted Waddle Dee Knows. “Yeah, I guessed everything in the Direct and deleted the stuff that didn’t show up.” Which is to say, he guessed at as many different possibilities as he could, and then pruned the then-unknown account of most of the incorrect guesses to leave something that looked remarkably accurate. It deliberately left the “weird shit” like the Encanto news to deliberately look fallible, to perversely appear even more credible.
The original plan was to carry on the charade for one day, but within just seven hours the account had over two thousand followers. Some game sites even linked to the “mysterious account,” citing it as an accurate source of information. In order to mislead fewer people, Waddle Dee Knows had to call it quits almost a whole day earlier than the intended, well, day.
As Ars Technica reports, Waddle Dee Knows is YouTuber Jon Cartwright from Good Vibes Gaming, who posted a 15-minute explanation of how he created the fake account. The whole video, which can be seen above, goes into the finer details of how internet scammers make things look legit.
“I could delete as much as I want,” he explains, “and no one would notice because no one could see these tweets.” The few that Cartwright did get right made him look like an insider, which of course he’s not.
“I wanted to see how easy this was and unfortunately, it’s very easy,” Cartwright tweeted. “I hope this can become an example to not randomly trust faceless anonymous profiles.”