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Why were these weird accounts following a bunch of people on Spotify?

Why were these weird accounts following a bunch of people on Spotify?


Many Spotify users noticed that they were being followed by accounts named ‘! lucasrpx’ and ‘! vitornovaes,’ so we tried to get to the bottom of it.

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The Spotify logo on a green backdrop surrounded by pink and white graphics.
Illustration by Nick Barclay / The Verge

Somebody sent a strange tip about Spotify to The Verge on Wednesday.

The email, with the subject line “Spotify Hackers,” claimed that “Every English account in America has two new followers, ! lucasrpx and ! vitornovaes.” The tipster followed up two minutes later to share a screenshot showing the profile pictures from the accounts, which featured characters from the Studio Ghibli movie Ponyo. Weird stuff.

This seemed pretty innocuous — we doubted they were hackers — but we had to investigate. It was easy to disprove that the accounts followed “every English account in America”; the accounts were not following me. (Though full disclosure that I’ve been an Apple Music user for years.) But the accounts did follow two other Verge staffers, and a cursory search on X (formerly Twitter) showed that a lot of people were wondering about these accounts. (Based on the images we’ve seen, it appears “! lucasrpx” sometimes went by “! lucas.”)

I asked Spotify about what might be going on. Spokesperson Laura Batey sent me this vague statement: “Confirming that these accounts have been disabled for violating our terms. Note that while they are no longer accessible to the user, they may still be visible on the platform.” I followed up to ask for more details but haven’t received a reply.

Exactly who or what “! lucasrpx” and “! vitornovaes” are remains a mystery. If I had to guess, I think they’re just spammers who were mass-following people. But they may not be the only other weird accounts following people unexpectedly; one colleague found two followers they didn’t know with the “! [username]” construction for their profiles.

Are you seeing any followers like this? If so, I’d be curious to know in the comments!