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Right-wing Twitter loses its mind over Mayo Clinic parody account

A parody account posing as a Mayo Clinic doctor got conservative Twitter's attention. Not in a good way.

A parody account posing as a Mayo Clinic doctor got conservative Twitter's attention. Not in a good way. Twitter

Mayo Clinic’s Twitter account lit up like a Christmas tree a few days ago, mostly with comments asking the Rochester medical center if it had seen this tweet:

The account -- with the fishy name A Doctor IRL and the words “obstetrician at the world renowned Mayo Clinic” in the bio -- was posting mostly left-leaning tweets and getting a few likes for each one before this post blew up on June 27. It has since accrued thousands of reactions, including some expressions of alarm.

Even Mayo Clinic’s account has weighed in with a warning to its followers and a request to take the account down. The clinic didn’t respond to interview requests.

Other commenters were doing the internet equivalent of roasting marshmallows over a trash can fire. They pointed out that the account’s bio, “obstetrician at the world renowned Mayo Clinic,” ends with the word “parody.” As in “not real.” The alarmists were in all likelihood getting worked up over nothing.

Still, even that fact and the assurance from Mayo that “Dr. Nifkin,” as he refers to himself in his handle, wasn’t one of theirs, some commenters doubled down and demanded an investigation anyway.

For the record, the owner of the account is not a doctor, nor does he work at the Mayo Clinic. This is a joke format he uses all the time, he says. “I’m a (blank) and I work at (blank) and I (blank),” usually with the intent to poke fun at conservative Twitter. He declined to reveal his name for safety and privacy reasons.

“I expected some people to take it seriously as there are a lot of stupid people in this country,” he says.

But he didn’t expect it to blow up the way it did. Commenters have been reporting him to Twitter, to the FBI, even to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He says none of them have gotten in touch with him.

Overall, he still thinks the whole thing is hilarious, but he has gotten threats -- including posts on forums with speculations about which doctor at Mayo he might be, and assertions that they “need to doxx this fucker.”

It’s all fine, he says, as long as nobody finds out who he is.

“Would hate to lose my family and/or job over a joke that idiots got mad at,” he says. “Anyone who took this seriously is a dumb person and should feel bad about themselves."

His account is still up, and he’s still tweeting -- even rehashing the joke. If Twitter admins intend to shut him down, they haven’t done it yet.