The creator of the "Birds Aren't Real" movement is going viral for what he says is his brutal honesty.
What are the details?
According to a recent Newsweek report, the "Birds Aren't Real" movement, which is gaining traction on social media, is "built around the claims that ... birds aren't real."
"The unsubstantiated theory alleges that, between 1959 and 2001, the government killed off all birds and replaced them with surveillance drones," the outlet noted. "It's such a bizarre idea that it almost seems like a parody of other conspiracy theories — and it very might well be, despite what the movement's apparent leader insists."
Newsweek named the "leader" as "Birds Aren't Real" frontman Peter McIndoe, who spoke with the outlet and provided details on the theory.
"McIndoe portrays the movement as completely serious," Newsweek reported. "Throughout his interview with Newsweek, he remained deadpan and appeared to be improvising as he went along, further blurring the divide between reality and conspiracy. When asked directly whether this is actually an elaborate comedy project, he swore that it's a real thing and that it was just operating underground until the advent of the internet. It should be noted, though, that the only indication that Birds Aren't Real has been around for decades is the history section of its own website."
Newsweek noted that it's worth pointing out that when first speaking with the outlet about setting up an interview, McIndoe texted, "In regards to our movement being a joke, or for real: That is the very question that our post-truth era comedy project thrives within."
During the phone interview, however, McIndoe said, "Whenever I type in, 'Real movement, no comedy involved,' it always autocorrects it to something like 'meta-conspiracy parody-movement, showcasing post-truth-era absurdity."
"I think that everyone, deep down, can identify and relate to the fact that we are being surveilled, and that surveillance is most likely coming from 12 billion birds simultaneously," he added. He also insisted that any accusations that the movement is a joke are "absurd" and said that "big tech" and the government are to blame for the false characterization.
"That's one of the saddest things, that people consider that this could be some sort of mass-improvisational performance, or some sort of showcasing, highlighting on a new era we've entered into as a society where anything can be true," he told Newsweek. "Even if [the movement being satirical] was the case, you really wouldn't even be able to tell."
"I think people would mistake that we have comedic intent, because we will tap into these trends, but what people need to understand is things like that on TikTok are very intentional," McIndoe continued. "The meme is the modern day parable, is what we like to tell the Bird Brigade. Comedy is the most disarming form of communication."
Newsweek pointed out that at least one "Birds Aren't Real" Instagram account boasts more than 296,000 followers, and a related TikTok account has more than 353,000 followers.
"Accounts for regional chapters have even sprung up in places like Idaho and Arkansas, and McIndoe claims there are members of the movement living in every state. It's not clear how many of those people are true believers, and how many of them are interpreting the accounts as a joke," the outlet noted.