Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) decided this week that it'd be a good idea to sue Twitter because it's allowed some of its users to publish content that hurts the congressman's feelings. Of particular interest, however, is "Devin Nunes' Cow."
The Republican congressman's lawsuit specifically points to "Devin Nunes' Cow" -- a Twitter account that mocks the lawmaker with bovine-related puns -- as an example of the sort of brutal mistreatment he's received on the social-media platform. (The account, for example, has described Nunes as "udder-ly worthless.")
I'll confess that I was unfamiliar with the parodic account before yesterday, but I'm well aware of it now -- which is one of the reasons Nunes' litigation is such a bad idea. New York Times noted yesterday:
The lawsuit by Mr. Nunes had the perhaps unintended effect of sharply increasing the reach of @DevinCow, the parody account that had around 1,200 followers before the lawsuit was filed. The account was up to 46,000 followers as of Tuesday morning and rapidly growing.
How rapidly? By last night, the "Devin Nunes' Cow" account had over 217,000 followers. As I type this morning, it has over 327,000 followers.
In fact, the comedic account, created to mock Devin Nunes, now has nearly as many Twitter followers as Devin Nunes. [Update: see below.]
All of this, of course, was quite predictable. In effect, the far-right congressman declared to the world, "Hey everyone, that funny Twitter account is ridiculing me! That one, right there! It exists to make me appear foolish, which is why I now feel entitled to $250 million!"
The question isn't why Nunes' lawsuit backfired; it's why he didn't see this coming.
Looking ahead, the Californian told Fox News that his quarter-billion-dollar lawsuit is the "first of many" he intends to follow.
Right about now, I wonder how many are quietly hoping they're Nunes' next target.
Update: As of 1 p.m. ET, the "Devin Nunes' cow" account had over 400,000 followers, which tops the congressman's own number by about 10,000.