16-Year-Old Sparks Twitter Trend, Controversy #OMGFacts

Site @OMGFacts attracts 300k+ followers, goes silent after MLK post.

Jan. 22, 2010— -- Twitter can make you feel like a star, but you'd better not let it get to your head.

Just ask 16-year-old Adorian Deck.

Since starting his playfully named page @OMGFacts in September 2009, the California teen has amassed more than 300,000 followers on Twitter by posting a few eye-popping factoids each day.

Mining the Internet and iPhone applications, he's unearthed trivial but titillating tidbits about everything from celebrities and pop culture to world history and commerce.

"Ashton Kutcher has two webbed toes."

"Women end up digesting most of the lipstick they apply."

"The first product that Sony came out with was a rice cooker."

It's attracted the coveted attention of celebs like Alyssa Milano, Lindsay Lohan and Kim Kardashian (who reportedly has charged up to $10,000 to promote products on Twitter).

"It was very incredible," Deck said. "I never thought of it. It's just insanity."

But on Monday, Twitter taught the high school junior a lesson he'll never forget.

MLK Post Creates 'Firestorm' of Criticism

"Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spent his last night on Earth having sex with two women," he posted.

And with that, the barbs started to fly.

"Unfollow @OMGFacts for their crude tweet about Martin Luther King Jr yesterday!," posted one tweeter.

"What a disrespectful way to dishonor MLK," posted another.

Rapper Q-Tip commented, "it wasnt racist just tasteless."

"It became a big firestorm," said celebrity and pop culture blogger Shabooty, who wrote a post about the incident on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. "A lot of people were kind of appalled."

A few hours after the controversial tweet, followers of @OMGFacts noticed that the account disappeared, Shabooty said. Some surmised that Twitter had shut it down over the comment, others thought the creator had deleted it.

Though the account was back up by Monday evening, @OMGFacts hasn't tweeted anything since Monday.

But Deck told ABCNews.com that he isn't quitting @OMGFacts, he's just taking a bit of a hiatus to "recover and think about things."

"For the people that I've disrespected, I say sorry," he said.

Creator of OMGFacts: Comment Not Meant to Be Disrespectful

"Basically, as OMGFacts has gotten bigger… it's gotten to my head a bit," Deck said. "I've started to say things to the public that I don't think about at first. … I don't think about what that sounds like to other people. [The post] wasn't meant to be racist or disrespectful to other people."

He said he wanted to post a fact about Martin Luther King Jr. in recognition of the national holiday. When he came across the "fact" online, he said, "It was just a shocking fact to me. And I thought people would want to know. And it was the opposite -- at least not on Martin Luther King Day."

He said he walked away from the computer, but he returned a few hours later, suddenly realizing the impact the tweet might have on other people.

He deleted the comment, and then temporarily deleted the account (as well as an OMGFacts blog he had maintained) before later restoring it.

Deck said he doesn't recall where he initially found the MLK comment, but he sent ABCNews.com a few links from Snopes and CNN. Though they detail allegations that King had extramarital affairs, they don't substantiate the comment posted to Twitter.

#OMGFacts Was 18th Most Active Twitter Trend in 2009

On a Web site hosted by the group White Pride World Wide, ABCNews.com found an article claiming that King had a tryst with two women the night before he was assassinated. But Deck said he wasn't sure if that's where he saw the comment.

He acknowledged that he didn't fact-check at first but now he said he's started to.

Regardless of the factual-ness of his facts, those who monitor trends on Twitter say Deck likely started one of the most popular trending topics on Twitter -- #OMGFacts.

Along with @OMGFacts, Deck said he created the hashtag #OMGFacts last fall. (Hashtags help spread and organize information on Twitter.)

Ingo Muschenetz, CEO of What TheTrend, a Web site that tracks and explains trending topics on Twitter, said that that #OMGFacts was the 18th most active trend of 2009.

Though it's difficult to provide a precise numerical definition of trending, he said that when a term trends it means that a large number of people are talking about it in a short amount of time.

OMGFacts Has 'Taken on a Life of Its Own

Some Twitter users have started to tweet rival "OMGFacts," and others have started to simply tack on the hashtag when they tweet something that they think is especially interesting.

It trended for the first time on Nov. 28, 2009, and from that point on remained among the top 10 trending terms until early this week.

"[#OMGFacts has] kind of taken on a life of its own," he said. "I can see why … it's like trivia. People love trivia."

He also said that Twitter's 140-character messages are a perfect vehicle for the kind of factoids Deck sent out, and the hashtag he chose was also Twitter-appropriate.

"Short and or memorable things are often really useful," he said. "It's more fun to say OMGFacts, [as in] 'Oh my god, you've got to see this.'"

Since Deck stopped tweeting Monday, Muschenetz said #OMGFacts has fallen off a cliff.

Despite the controversy, Deck said he wouldn't have done anything differently this week. Though he also has a relatively popular YouTube channel (with more than 17,000 subscribers), he said the Twitter incident helped him better understand the public trust that accompanies the power of social media.

"I don't regret it," he said. "I learned a humongous lesson of responsibility."