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The Beluga Whale Image In That Popular Melania Trump Tweet Mysteriously Turned Into A Giraffe

Twitter told BuzzFeed News the image switch was due to "an internal issue."

Last updated on December 30, 2018, at 4:16 p.m. ET

Posted on December 30, 2018, at 8:14 a.m. ET


A tweet from Melania Trump from six years ago suddenly and mysteriously changed Saturday night, causing many a meltdown among Twitter users.

The tweet, posted by the would-be first lady back in 2012, originally featured a photo of a beluga whale with the text “What is she thinking?”

For reasons that are perhaps obvious, the post has gained fresh life on the internet since Donald Trump announced his presidential run, becoming a convenient meme for people curious about the private life and thoughts of the president’s reticent wife.

@melaniatrump / Twitter

So naturally people were surprised — and quickly distraught — to discover Saturday that the image in the infamous tweet had inexplicably changed from the aforementioned beluga whale to a new photo of a giraffe peering over a fence.

@melaniatrump / Twitter

People were seriously shook.

@ashleyfeinberg / Twitter


@ira / Twitter

me discovering this giraffe/whale sorcery right before bed

@bobbyfinger / Twitter


@MilesKlee / Twitter

Adding to the intrigue was the fact that the tweet was still showing the beluga whale image as of early Sunday morning on some devices and browsers — meaning that what people were seeing in the tweet depended on how they were accessing it.

Ok, so the famous @MELANIATRUMP tweet of a beluga whale from 2012 has somehow mysteriously turned into a pic of a giraffe on my iPhone (Just noticed by a bunch of people tonight) but is still a whale on my Android. How does that even happen??

@SteveLemongello / Twitter

Ah god damn I saw the whale then I texted the link to myself and got the giraffe

@PFTompkins / Twitter

The Melania beluga / giraffe tweet thing isn't a prank, I just tested it on 4 browsers URL: Screenshots from: 1️⃣ Twitter App 2️⃣ Safari 3️⃣ Perfect Web 4️⃣ Chrome 1/

@greg_doucette / Twitter

@meakoopa Whale for me. It's like some twisted blue/ gold dress experiment

@yamommathatswho / Twitter

Twitter eventually solved the mystery. A spokesperson for the company told BuzzFeed News Sunday that the switch was due to "an internal issue causing certain Twitter image IDs to be switched with others."

The spokesperson said the issue "should now be resolved."

Of course, other people have come up with their own theories...

Good Evening, Melania’s beluga whale was a 72 month sociological study conducted by Harvard University, we are now complete with our study. Thank you for your time.

@adamjmoussa / Twitter

all i'm saying it we have *ONE* electric-blue-lights-in-the-sky event in nyc and now dolphins are becoming giraffes!!!!!

@alplicable / Twitter

facebook: we’re trying to make our website better in 2019. twitter: watch melania’s baluga whale tweet turn into a big ass giraffe.

@SirajAHashmi / Twitter

war is peace; freedom is slavery; whale is giraffe

@meakoopa / Twitter
@MorganDenges / Twitter

And even though the mystery has been solved, it all felt like an appropriately ludicrous end to 2018.

2018 ending with “the giraffe problem” is so on the nose it might break me.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.