Tuesday, February 13, 2018

"How a 20-year-old from [Macedonia] tricked Martina Navratilova, Serena Williams, and the BBC"

Slate:

As members of the local media cooled on Grncarov, his story caught fire on Twitter. The buzz began to pick up last summer, when a fleet of accounts began incessantly retweeting, liking, replying to, and generally worshiping Grncarov. I’ve found more than 200 Twitter accounts solely devoted to Grncarov

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These Twitter accounts often yammered about the same topics simultaneously, whether it was Darko’s crush on Nicole Scherzinger or his purported net worth of $1.5 million. Some even appeared to be designated haters, posting negative comments about Grncarov only for the other accounts to rally to his defense.

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Though his story was shared by a few accounts, Grncarov didn’t gain wider traction online until months later, when he began to praise the Williams sisters.

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Journalists, too, latched onto Grncarov’s amazing comeback story.

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Grncarov, meanwhile, posted videos and photos of himself training for his “return.” The videos clearly show different people—sometimes the player depicted switches to being left-handed. Most show a man only from behind, or with his face obscured.

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By this point, that chorus of 200-plus Grncarov-loving Twitter accounts had been joined by a growing number of genuine supporters.