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Opinion: Here's why the English Bay Barge parody Twitter account went to war with a CBC reporter

It was only a matter of time before the account became unmoored
justin-mcelroy
CBC reporter Justin McElroy

The @EnglishBayBarge parody Twitter account has taken a dark turn, waging war with CBC Vancouver reporter Justin McElroy after sending out a series of problematic tweets.

McElroy seemingly sparked the online beef by pointing out the simple fact that the account has become unmoored. He tweeted "i see we've reached that blessed point in any viral local news story where a parody account starts having confusing hot takes" along with some screen grabs of English Bay Barge tweets.

Those tweets include one about building a "border wall" around Surrey juxtaposed with a seemingly random and not-barge-related "F*** You" directed at Laura Lynn Tyler Thomson for good measure.

The barge account, whose owner/operator is unknown, returned with a response that indicates they think the reporter speaks for the entire CBC news operation in British Columbia.

"Greetings @cbcnewsbc , your superiority complex is showing again. Let me help you off your high horse: Barge mocks all that is wrong with this washed up city and that includes you!" was their response.

As McElroy rightly points out this is, sadly, the natural progression for many accounts like this. They gain popularity, their heads get a little inflated, then they go off the rails. The fact that these accounts are often completely anonymous makes this transition easier as they have zero accountability.

For example, in December of 2012 an anonymous NBA fan account called @nbavancouver had a good run while drawing attention to the fact that our city should get a professional team to replace the Vancouver Grizzlies. The person behind the account built up a ton of good will and were arguably at the centre of a growing movement.

They ended up flipping the script and tweeting out wildly inappropriate insults, calling people a number of different names. I was called a f****t, a prick, and a f**kboy by the account on different occasions. They stopped tweeting altogether soon after.

Now, as might be expected, what started out as a fun account that brought attention to a timely distraction (long live the barge!) has been relegated to an unfollow for many.

However if you're bummed at the loss, fret not. There's another anonymous parody account operating under the handle @bargeymcbarge, and they are at least 50% less problematic than their competition.

Follow for now, but don't get mad at me when they end up calling you a f**kboy. I tried to warn you.