As the political climate gets stormier, the internet becomes weirder.
The New York Times published an article Sunday about "alternative facts" after Kellyanne Conway, senior advisor to President Donald Trump, hours earlier characterized dubious stats from White House press secretary Sean Spicer that way.
Later on Sunday, someone bought the web domain www.alternativefacts.com, which has been redirecting visitors to the Times' article. "The Times did not purchase the URL," Linda Zebian, the newspaper's director of communications, said in an email.
So, it appears someone—an internet troll or a prankster, it would seem—purchased the domain from GoDaddy in order to … mock the article? Or perhaps the person wanted to promote the piece. Who knows?
Some Twitter users assumed the Times was trolling Trump.
I just checked on the availability of the domain https://t.co/3VzxyXbmkm
…well done @nytimes
— Jensavaneshvar (@tongotongoz) January 23, 2017
— Guy Le Jeune (@GuyLeJeune) January 23, 2017
— Thomas Rudolf (@th_rudolf) January 23, 2017
On Sunday, Conway was speaking to NBC's Meet the Press host Chuck Todd and defending Spicer, who the day before seemed to have claimed Trump's was the most-attended inauguration in history. That claim appeared to be false.
UPDATE: Spicer, in a press conference on Monday, stated that he intended to mean more people watched Trump's inauguration—whether on TV, on the web or in person—than any other inauguration in history.
At any rate, Conway's attempt to recast Spicer's initial, clumsy statements as "alternative facts" inspired criticism, mockery and many a social media reference to George Orwell's 1984. (The hashtag #alternativefacts trended nationally on Twitter.)
— David Taylor (@wdavidotaylor) January 22, 2017
And, as it turns out, Conway inspired an enterprising individual to partake in a little web weirdness. GoDaddy doesn't publish its customers' names nor how much they pay for URLs.