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Twitter Was Turned Upside Down Looking For A College Student Who Probably Never Existed

The guy who sparked the "Taiwan Jones" madness would not tell BuzzFeed News whether his story was "fact or fiction."

Posted on October 20, 2017, at 3:37 p.m. ET

Late Thursday night, a guy named Roy Handy from Atlanta went viral after he tweeted that he'd sat next to a professor on a plane, and someone named Taiwan Jones at Howard University miiiight not be too happy with his midterm results.

This professor graded tests next to me the whole flight. If there’s a Taiwan Jones at Howard, boy you failed the fuck out ya midterm 😩

Handy even followed up his own tweet, and quipped he "feel[s] bad" for this "Taiwan Jones" student.

I just feel bad cuz lil buddy finna enjoy his weekend just come back to class, life in shambles.

And...people straight up lost it.

😂imagine finding out you failed on the tl 😩😩

😂😂😂 taiwan jones forgot to study smh

And that's when the Great Taiwan Jones Search began.

I’m sorry homie, when you get that “L” on Monday, learn from your mistake, & give ur professor a bad review on Rate…

It didn't take too long before someone with the handle @TaiwanJones_ went viral claiming to be the student...

@TaiwanJones_ / Twitter / Via Twitter: @TaiwanJones_

...and soon another person with the handle @JonesTaiwan_ did the exact same thing and went even more viral.

@JonesTaiwan_ / Instagram / Via Twitter: @JonesTaiwan_

That "Taiwan Jones" went viral several more times tweeting about the incident.

@JonesTaiwan_ / Twitter

And the original tweet, which at this point had pretty much taken over Twitter, inspired a few copycats.

Yo a professor graded midterms next to me on the plane If there’s a Michael Turner at Butler, boy you failed the fuck outcha calculus test😩

By Friday morning, "Taiwan Jones" became a national trending topic on Twitter.


The mad hunt to find the ~real~ Taiwan Jones eventually turned into a meme in and of itself.

@TaiwanJones_ taiwan jones when he meets the other taiwan jones who also failed their midterm and also goes to howa…

Everyone on Twitter trying to find the real Taiwan Jones

Small, big, local, and international sites began running stories as fact that a student found out about his failing grade over Twitter.

Evening Standard / Via
College Candy / Via

Although some publications quickly updated their headlines and stories after realizing the ~real~ Taiwan Jones was someone still in question.

Daily Dot / Via
Daily Dot / Via

But Friday afternoon, doubts arose about the event, the student in question, and the entire debacle. Some questioned whether Taiwan Jones even exists.

I'm halfway sure Taiwan Jones isn't a real person

When BuzzFeed News made contact with Handy (@Old_Orleans, the original tweeter) he said he could "not verify" any of the details he tweeted about originally, like the student's name or university.

@Old_Orleans / Twitter / Via Twitter: @Old_Orleans

"I can not verify what school the student attends, which is why I said 'if' in context of the tweet. I wasn't aware of how much power this relatable topic could have across the HBCU community as a whole," Handy wrote BuzzFeed News in an email.

But when asked to simply give his quick account of what he allegedly witnessed, Handy told BuzzFeed News he'd prefer the tweet be left "as a fun, relatable tweet that people enjoyed to take part in, and keep the confidentiality of the story being fact or fiction to myself."

"I’m not really in the position to take phone calls, and I can’t really give an account to anything that was tweeted under the terms that I’d rather leave the tweet in," he added.

A simple search on Howard's e-mail directory page yielded no results for anyone named Taiwan Jones.

Howard University / Via

A source from the Howard University registrar's office told Complex that there are no current students enrolled at the school under the name "Taiwan Jones."

BuzzFeed News has also reached out to the school, as well as a handful of individual students, who said they themselves are scrambling to figure out who this person could be on their campus.

Old cached versions of tweets from both accounts that claimed to be Taiwan Jones show they had changed their usernames.

Will the real Taiwan Jones please stand up?

In fact, @TaiwanJones_ changed his username a second time to @TaiwanJoness after being contacted by BuzzFeed News via his second account. He also changed his avatar multiple times.

So, the mysterious Taiwan Jones of Howard University may not exist after all. But in a way, aren't we all Taiwan Jones?

“you’re gonna do so well on that midterm!” first of all, i’m taiwan jones

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.