EDITOR’S NOTE: Some language in tweets may be vulgar in nature.

Getting catfished is becoming more common as we make more connections online nowadays. Catfishing is the act of luring someone into some sort of relationship by means of a fictional online persona. Imagine not just catfishing one person, but nearly 200 thousand people. That is exactly what Twitter user, emoblackthot did recently on National Coming Out Day.

The person behind the profile has been using twitter since 2012 and has been portraying themselves as a queer dark-skinned black woman. Up until recently, the user has remained anonymous. They connected with all walks of internet life, the majority of her followers being apart of the LGBTQ+ community or women. EBT shares with their followers very intimate details about their sexual assault experience, was giving advice on skincare and tweeting about up and coming creatives in the black community. Many followers even donated money to this user wanting to uplift a black woman in need of extra cash. EBT achieved internet fame without ever posting a picture of themselves. Everything began to change when EBT revealed himself as Isaiah Hickland. He is very much not a dark-skinned black woman, to say the least. The reveal shocked those who were in support of the persona behind the profile, all of who related to said persona because they saw someone with who they could identify with.

Hickland gained internet fame and profits off of being relatable to black women. It seems as if he only revealed himself in an attempt to gain more for himself. This is just another example of a man wanting to make a profit and emulate a black woman. It is disgusting that Hickland played right into such a role. Countless women looked to this account for guidance and a safe space where they could share their feelings under the impression that EBT was going through the same thing. Having an anonymous online identity is not the problem in this situation though; the problem is that instead of remaining completely anonymous, Hickland creates a character that others feel in solidarity with. The EBT account was known for taking stances on social issues and that all could have been done anonymously.

Hickland goes the extra mile and lies countless times, now everything is being discredited. There was absolutely no need to go to the lengths that Hickland did to maintain this Twitter persona. He built this platform around being a black woman, then when it is no longer beneficial to him, he throws it all away. The EBT account really was a cultural center for all different sides of Twitter to come and discuss anything that they wanted to. People could find others similar to themselves through this one positive Twitter profile and connect with each other.

This account shaped the way a lot of people use Twitter and to have all of that feel like lies and ripped away in a matter of seconds is crushing. There is also a side to this that is mocking people who did love this account and found a community within it. People who are doing this must have never grown up in a real-life community that does not understand that everyone wants to belong somewhere so what if it is online. It is extremely easy to make fun of these people if one is not willing to look from the other side. Social media plays an important role in development now, and to be able to find a niche in this big, wide-open platform can feel comforting. It was a plus to see a big viral account being run by a black woman. It was a genuinely positive account up until the reveal. This time around, a barrier of trust was broken and who is to say if it can be repaired.