Shardcore, who gave us the programatically generated Hipsterbait tees, had advanced the art of autonomous, self-perpetuating Internet memes, with @factbot1, a bot that creates true-sounding, viral-ish lies ("Indonesians always turn left when exiting a cave", "In just one drop of Sesame seeds, 50 million bacteria can be present", "Morels were used as a Sesame seeds substitute during the Norwegian Civil War"). Here's an essay that explains the project:
The internet is rife with misinformation, some propagated by ignorance, but increasingly as carefully crafted campaigns of deceit. The problem is that we think we're smart enough to spot the lies, and we're not. Factbot was built to play in this space. The facts themselves are based on 'real facts' I've harvested from the web. A fact is picked at random, the entities, numbers and dates are algorithmically manipulated, and lo, a new fact is born.
Whilst most of the facts are patently absurd, I find it most interesting when it skirts the fringes of authenticity. The code which runs Factbot is dumb, it has no knowledge of the world, nor any notion of when it stumbles into the realm of plausibility – it is *our* reaction to the fact which defines its possible veracity, not the actual relationship to 'real' truth. In some ways, the more it's tweeted, the truer it gets.