“Birds Aren’t Real,” a Gen Z conspiracy theory that states birds don’t truly exist and are drone impersonations utilised by the US government to spy on Americans.

Instagram and TikTok accounts dedicated to the theory have racked up hundreds of thousands of followers, while YouTube videos about the theory have also gone viral.

And just last month, Birds Aren’t Real enthusiasts protested outside Twitter’s headquarters to demand that the company change its bird logo.

Several young people joined in on the moment, sporting Birds Aren’t Real tee-shirts, flocking to rallies and spreading the word.

Despite this, the people pushing the conspiracy theory have revealed that everything isn’t quite what it seems, according to The New York Times reporter Taylor Lorenz, who covered the story.

Lorenz noted that some people might chalk up the conspiracy to the likes of QAnon, but the creator and followers know that birds are, in fact, real.

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“The idea is meant to be so preposterous, but we make sure nothing we’re saying is too realistic. That’s a consideration with coming out of character,” said Peter McIndoe, the 23-year-old founder of the movement.

McIndoe is a college dropout in Memphis, Tennessee and founded the movement on a whim in 2017.

The article also noted that many members of the movement are a part of an activism group called the Bird Brigade and grew up around misinformation. Some also have family members that fell prey to conspiracy theories.

”A lot of people in our generation feel the lunacy in all this, and Birds Aren’t Real has been a way for people to process that.”

Members of Birds Aren’t Real have also emerged as a political force. Many join forces with counter-protesters and true conspiracy theorists to de-escalate tensions and vilify the individuals walking beside them with obnoxious chants.

Birds Aren’t Real members showed up to an anti-abortion rally at the University of Cincinnati in September, right after a new restrictive abortion legislation went into effect in Texas.

McIndoe also claimed that supporters of the proposed law “had signs with very graphic imagery and were very aggressive in condemning people.”

As a result, the Bird Brigade, on the other hand, began chanting, “Birds aren’t real.” Their yells soon drowned out the anti-abortion protesters, who dispersed.

McIndoe further noted that he has “a lot of excitement” for the new year.

He hopes to collaborate with prominent content creators and independent media platforms Channel 5 News, which is “committed to traversing the country and bringing you the rawest reportage of cultural happenings and major news events for the remainder of 2021 and beyond.”

“Yes, we have been intentionally spreading misinformation for the past four years, but it’s with a purpose. It’s about holding up a mirror to America in the internet age,” McIndoe said.

Check out the full New York Times report here.

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