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TED Talk's Hashtag Gets Trolled

A fake rumor started on Twitter that bikes were being stolen from outside the Toronto TEDx Talk. And then tossed into a pile of burning bicycles. Sounds believable.

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A TEDx talk was held in Toronto today. If you were following along with the #TEDxToronto Twitter hashtag, you'd notice that mixed in with effusive praise for the enlightening speakers, something sinister was afoot. It appeared that there was a scandal where the police were cutting the locks of bikes outside the event, and tossing them into a giant bicycle bonfire.

Of course, that probably wasn't happening, although I have no actual confirmation that the Toronto PD did not construct a fiery bicycle golem.

If there is a true and just God, I pray that he will allow similar thing trolling to happen on every TED talk hashtag henceforth. Hear my prayers, merciful Provider, grant us this joy, alight our lives with some harmless pranking of TED Talk enthusiasts. Amen.

I just stepped outside to find the tires and seat of my $1500 bike gone. Completely unacceptable #TEDxToronto @TEDxToronto

I just stepped outside to find the tires and seat of my $1500 bike gone. Completely unacceptable #TEDxToronto @TEDxToronto-- Hallöweenäffchen

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has anyone in toronto had any luck contacting the police re: stolen bikes at #TEDxToronto? all my calls involve them laughing and hanging up

has anyone in toronto had any luck contacting the police re: stolen bikes at #TEDxToronto? all my calls involve them laughing and hanging up-- THE SCARIEST PUN

"Treat every day of the post-bike society like it was the first" #TEDxTORONTO #inspireme

"Treat every day of the post-bike society like it was the first" #TEDxTORONTO #inspireme-- lehan

Anyone other attendees interested in #crowdsourcing an #app about this #bike fiasco? #TEDxToronto

Anyone other attendees interested in #crowdsourcing an #app about this #bike fiasco? #TEDxToronto-- dewy-ass homeboy

1st they came for Mopeds & I did not protest, for I had no moped, then for the segways–who cares–but then they came for my bike #TedXToronto

1st they came for Mopeds & I did not protest, for I had no moped, then for the segways–who cares–but then they came for my bike #TedXToronto-- GORY VIOLENT

Not only was my bike stolen from #TedxToronto but a group of chatty schoolgirls dressed in Toronto city worker uniforms mocked my huge ass.

Not only was my bike stolen from #TedxToronto but a group of chatty schoolgirls dressed in Toronto city worker uniforms mocked my huge ass.-- plopadop

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. @davidiangray please retweet until @tomayorford explains why dozens of bike locks were sawn off, bikes removed at #TEDxToronto

. @davidiangray please retweet until @tomayorford explains why dozens of bike locks were sawn off, bikes removed at #TEDxToronto-- GENERAL GANDHI

. @mizgooglehead the city of toronto and #TEDxToronto have conspired to steal and incinerate hundreds of bikes, for purposes unknown

. @mizgooglehead the city of toronto and #TEDxToronto have conspired to steal and incinerate hundreds of bikes, for purposes unknown-- GENERAL GANDHI

DO ANY OF THE ORGANIZERS OF #TEDxToronto HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT THE ENVIRONMENTAL FALLOUT OF INCINERATING HUNDREDS OF BIKES WILL BE

DO ANY OF THE ORGANIZERS OF #TEDxToronto HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT THE ENVIRONMENTAL FALLOUT OF INCINERATING HUNDREDS OF BIKES WILL BE-- GENERAL GANDHI

Very alarmed by the outfits donned by #TEDxToronto volunteer staff. superiors seem to favor red robes; underlings wear animist necklaces

Very alarmed by the outfits donned by #TEDxToronto volunteer staff. superiors seem to favor red robes; underlings wear animist necklaces-- GENERAL GANDHI

I misplaced an iphone charger, two galaxie nexus chargers, an ipad touch, a dozen roses, and my bike at #TEDxToronto. Anyone seem them?

I misplaced an iphone charger, two galaxie nexus chargers, an ipad touch, a dozen roses, and my bike at #TEDxToronto. Anyone seem them?-- ▁▂▃▄▅▆▇█▓▒░

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can all you trolls stay off the #TEDxToronto hashtag?? we need info on where those stolen bikes are headed not your jokes!!!

can all you trolls stay off the #TEDxToronto hashtag?? we need info on where those stolen bikes are headed not your jokes!!!-- THE SCARIEST PUN

Virtually all of the TED Talk attendees whose bikes were stolen were affluent white males. Why are we being targeted for abuse? #TEDxToronto

Virtually all of the TED Talk attendees whose bikes were stolen were affluent white males. Why are we being targeted for abuse? #TEDxToronto-- Virgil Fearful Texas

what the fuck my bike turned into a heap of burning serpents #TEDxToronto

what the fuck my bike turned into a heap of burning serpents #TEDxToronto-- ʍǝɹɔ ʎpuǝp

Reports coming in from #TEDxToronto where police are apparently smelting bicycles in preparation for some sort of Canadian bacchanalia.

Reports coming in from #TEDxToronto where police are apparently smelting bicycles in preparation for some sort of Canadian bacchanalia.-- Grant Hendrix

#TEDxToronto Two TED staff just rode past on a tandem crudely made from parts of my bike & others. Laughed at me, shouted sthg abt 'alchemy'

#TEDxToronto Two TED staff just rode past on a tandem crudely made from parts of my bike & others. Laughed at me, shouted sthg abt 'alchemy'-- Eldritch Be'en'

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My bike was stolen from my #Houston #TX work and is going to the #TEDxToronto #BikeFurnaces! #BringBackMyBike! http://t.co/RCkF4GH0 Help!

My bike was stolen from my #Houston #TX work and is going to the #TEDxToronto #BikeFurnaces! #BringBackMyBike! http://t.co/RCkF4GH0 Help!-- Sprezz MacKenzie

#TEDxToronto bike golem now heading up the Esplanade, gobbling bikes & growing at an alarming rate. god help us all #bikes #golems #greygoo

#TEDxToronto bike golem now heading up the Esplanade, gobbling bikes & growing at an alarming rate. god help us all #bikes #golems #greygoo-- History Charnel

If #TEDxToronto can hide approx 6500 bikes they can hide the truth much easier. HOW HOT DOES A FURNACE HAVE TO BE

If #TEDxToronto can hide approx 6500 bikes they can hide the truth much easier. HOW HOT DOES A FURNACE HAVE TO BE-- bhlaab

Hearing that anyone wearing clipless pedals is deemed "one with the bike" and tossed into the furnace? #TEDxToronto

Hearing that anyone wearing clipless pedals is deemed "one with the bike" and tossed into the furnace? #TEDxToronto-- Writhing Mass

After discovering my bike was stolen I was the victim of a lot of overt sexual harassment from overzealous gay men at #TedxToronto

After discovering my bike was stolen I was the victim of a lot of overt sexual harassment from overzealous gay men at #TedxToronto-- Mark Corrigan

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Please donate to my #Kickstarter http://t.co/RCkF4GH0 to help raise funds to get my bike back from the #BikeFurnaces at #TEDxToronto!

Please donate to my #Kickstarter http://t.co/RCkF4GH0 to help raise funds to get my bike back from the #BikeFurnaces at #TEDxToronto!-- Sprezz MacKenzie

My Bike has been stolen from #Houson #TX by #TEDxToronto Staff!! #BringBackMyBike!! Can Anyone Help?

My Bike has been stolen from #Houson #TX by #TEDxToronto Staff!! #BringBackMyBike!! Can Anyone Help?-- Sprezz MacKenzie

@mistercqnzr Toronto police consider all items attached to confiscated bikes "contraband" and are throwing them in the furnace. #TEDxToronto

@mistercqnzr Toronto police consider all items attached to confiscated bikes "contraband" and are throwing them in the furnace. #TEDxToronto-- brendle what

If @TedXToronto doesn't apologize -on stage- for the bike incident, TED talks all over the world WILL be boycotted. #TEDxToronto

If @TedXToronto doesn't apologize -on stage- for the bike incident, TED talks all over the world WILL be boycotted. #TEDxToronto-- brendle what

The smoke from the Toronto #BikeFurnace hangs over the city like the shame currently hanging over #TEDxToronto for this crime. #InspireMe

The smoke from the Toronto #BikeFurnace hangs over the city like the shame currently hanging over #TEDxToronto for this crime. #InspireMe-- brendle what

To the ASSholes saying the #TEDxToronto #BikeFurnace isn't real, see: http://t.co/ldjGEMSc "The bigger the lie, the more people believe it."

To the ASSholes saying the #TEDxToronto #BikeFurnace isn't real, see: http://t.co/ldjGEMSc "The bigger the lie, the more people believe it."-- brendle what

my insulin was in a fanny pack attached to my bike #TEDxToronto-- ʍǝɹɔ ʎpuǝp

the cops just harassed my cousin and I(we're black) saying we stole our bikes from #TEDxToronto they pushed us down and took them. fuck this

the cops just harassed my cousin and I(we're black) saying we stole our bikes from #TEDxToronto they pushed us down and took them. fuck this-- O

urban assault team deployed, trashing toronto's most marginalized scapes in search of the bikes, boots on necks. hope ur happy #TEDxToronto

urban assault team deployed, trashing toronto's most marginalized scapes in search of the bikes, boots on necks. hope ur happy #TEDxToronto-- O

2 unicycles lashed together = bike. Terrible street brawl near the #bikefurnace now. Robed and hooded #TEDxToronto staff showing no mercy.

2 unicycles lashed together = bike. Terrible street brawl near the #bikefurnace now. Robed and hooded #TEDxToronto staff showing no mercy.-- Justin

I won't be surprised if the melted down bicycles stolen from #TEDxToronto attendees is used to create handcuffs and police batons

I won't be surprised if the melted down bicycles stolen from #TEDxToronto attendees is used to create handcuffs and police batons-- kraut rockula

Confused about the bikes being burned and jackhammered out front of #TEDxToronto. Performance art? I thought @TEDxToronto was science/tech?

Confused about the bikes being burned and jackhammered out front of #TEDxToronto. Performance art? I thought @TEDxToronto was science/tech?-- Scary Joe Hunter

Met friends at #TEDxToronto & took them out to show them my cool new bike and its... gone?? & the surrounding bikes too... Major bike theft?

Met friends at #TEDxToronto & took them out to show them my cool new bike and its... gone?? & the surrounding bikes too... Major bike theft?-- SCARY Dings 666

Impromptu #bikefurnace talk happening at The Spaghetti Factory during happy hour. #TEDxToronto

Impromptu #bikefurnace talk happening at The Spaghetti Factory during happy hour. #TEDxToronto-- ryan farkas

All I know is #TEDxToronto will #inspireme to report the city of Toronto's #BikeFurnace to the UN

All I know is #TEDxToronto will #inspireme to report the city of Toronto's #BikeFurnace to the UN-- Ken DEVOURy

Just saw some firemen (???) outside #TedXToronto just taking axes to a bunch of bicycles. Is this some weird charity fundraiser or what?

Just saw some firemen (???) outside #TedXToronto just taking axes to a bunch of bicycles. Is this some weird charity fundraiser or what?-- Scary Joe Hunter

Just saw a member of TED staff handing out what looked like metal swastikas crudely formed from partly-melted bike parts ??? #TEDxToronto

Just saw a member of TED staff handing out what looked like metal swastikas crudely formed from partly-melted bike parts ??? #TEDxToronto-- Eldritch Be'en'

The stress of having my bike stolen at #tedxtoronto is being compounded by thier denial and victim shaming I can't believe this crap.

The stress of having my bike stolen at #tedxtoronto is being compounded by thier denial and victim shaming I can't believe this crap.-- Mark Corrigan

After not being able to find my bike for 2 hours, I find it smoldering in a pile with dozens more, miles away from Sony Center #TEDxToronto

After not being able to find my bike for 2 hours, I find it smoldering in a pile with dozens more, miles away from Sony Center #TEDxToronto-- Ross Courtright

On subway at King Stn. - an announcement that all Yonge trains are delayed, riot cops entered train, seized all bikes? #TEDxToronto-related?

On subway at King Stn. - an announcement that all Yonge trains are delayed, riot cops entered train, seized all bikes? #TEDxToronto-related?-- Matt English

Can someone at #TEDxToronto please enlighten me on all the supposed #bikethefts that've apparently been happening? Very curious about this.

Can someone at #TEDxToronto please enlighten me on all the supposed #bikethefts that've apparently been happening? Very curious about this.-- Nick Roy

So interested to get the actual scoop on #TEDxToronto bike theft situation. Weird tweets everywhere #chaos @CP24 get on it!

So interested to get the actual scoop on #TEDxToronto bike theft situation. Weird tweets everywhere #chaos @CP24 get on it!-- SMH

Who has two thumbs and is grinning like crazy at how these TEDx Talk attendees believed it? ME.

#TEDxToronto what is all this talk of bikes??? I don't get it

#TEDxToronto what is all this talk of bikes??? I don't get it-- Sheldon Levine

My Bike has been stolen from #Houson #TX by #TEDxToronto Staff!! #BringBackMyBike!! Can Anyone Help?

My Bike has been stolen from #Houson #TX by #TEDxToronto Staff!! #BringBackMyBike!! Can Anyone Help?-- Sprezz MacKenzie

Hey #TEDxToronto what's the scoop on bikes being cut/confiscated outside venue? Does it include those parked at city locks? @TEDxToronto

Hey #TEDxToronto what's the scoop on bikes being cut/confiscated outside venue? Does it include those parked at city locks? @TEDxToronto-- Natalie Deschamps

Finally the official TEDx Toronto account (sadly, not called @itsrealTEDx) had to step in.

If anyone has a direct issue with missing bikes that they can report, please @TEDxToronto.

If anyone has a direct issue with missing bikes that they can report, please @TEDxToronto.-- TEDxToronto

The bikes seem to be in order outside - please let us know if you are running into any issues! #TEDxToronto

The bikes seem to be in order outside - please let us know if you are running into any issues! #TEDxToronto-- TEDxToronto

Delegates - we're hearing a lot about issues with bikes outside our event. Please meet out front now to give us the full story. #TEDxToronto

Delegates - we're hearing a lot about issues with bikes outside our event. Please meet out front now to give us the full story. #TEDxToronto-- TEDxToronto

Katie Notopoulos is a senior editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Notopoulos writes about tech and internet culture is cohost of the Internet Explorer podcast.

Contact Katie Notopoulos at katie@buzzfeed.com.

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