Why Is This Bizarre Illustration Taking Over The Internet?

Why Is This Bizarre Illustration Taking Over The Internet?

Back in 2011, illustrator Erica Glasier created this artwork for a Forbes article titled ‘The Bank of Facebook: Currency, Identity, Reputation‘. For reasons that no-one can find out, that image now makes up one in every 120 images on Imgur, the internet’s leading photo repository.

The phenomenon seems to have been first spotted by a Reddit user back in February, and more recently analysed in detail by TheGamble. He analysed a million random Imgur URLs, and recorded what was found at each one. Monopoly Man, as Glasier's image has been dubbed, showed up 3568 times. That's 0.833 per cent of all Imgur images, meaning that it's probably been uploaded around 3.2 million times -- an absurdly high number for anything that's not the work of some secret Illuminati botnet.

Interestingly, the phenomenon of bizarre uploads isn't just restricted to Monopoly Man -- other images, like these smartphones or the 'White Line' also appear more than they have any right to. Most likely, it's some kind of programming quirk, or Imgur test file; but then again, this sounds way too much like an NSA plot to be explained away by technospeak. Monopoly Man truthers, unite. What's your theory?


Picture: Erica Glasier/Forbes