#TheFrankening: When a Bunch of Bands Mysteriously Shared Frank Ocean’s SoundCloud Link

Was this strange occurrence a hack, a technical error, or a p.r. stunt? Here's my theory

Frank Ocean SoundCloud

Frank Ocean at Coachella 2012

Yesterday around 2:30PM Eastern Time, dozens of bands shared a URL on social media. Most of the links were the SoundCloud page of R&B artist Frank Ocean (see my screenshot below), which many artists shared on both Facebook and Twitter at exactly the same time. Most artists deleted the URLs almost immediately, but the mystery lingered: was this a hack? A coordinated P.R. stunt?

frank ocean soundcloud

I think the likeliest explanation is that this had to do with a technical error and app permissions. In other words, bands that have social media accounts linked to their SoundCloud accounts (directly or through third-party apps) were victim of some kind of technical brainfart where SoundCloud accidentally published a few links all at once. The reasons I believe that to be the case are:

  • It would’ve been remarkably difficult to hack dozens of accounts AND post on them all simultaneously
  • Frank Ocean isn’t promoting anything new
  • Most updates were deleted almost immediately, making it appear unintentional

The scary thing about the incident is that it reveals the cracks and vulnerabilities in social media technology. If an application can publish due to a technical glitch, what’s going to happen when the machines become sentient?

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