This nondescript image of lilac-flowers on Wikipedia has become a seemingly fatal hit in India, but none of it is sure why. Earlier this week, it noticed that this single image was attracting 90 million hits per day – a tidal wave of traffic to any one data center on Wikipedia. Chris Albon, director of machine learning at Wikimedia, said in a tweet on Monday about the seemingly coveted flower event: “Check out this real, live ticket the ongoing mystery, 20% of all requests for this image of flowers in one of our data centers for media.” “No one knows why,” Albon added.
For those who are curious about the botanical identity of this flowering plant, it is a species known as the New York aster (Symphyotrichum novi-belgii). While this is certainly a great specimen, it is otherwise unforgettable flower that can be found in the parts in various parts of North America. The Wikipedia page with the flower description is equally innocent and unrealistic, so what about the hype?
A post about Fabricator highlights that the film receives around 90 million hits every day from various internet service providers in India. It has become clear that the traffic is coming from a mobile app that is extremely popular in India. Many of the images displayed on Wikipedia come from Wikimedia Commons, a media repository from which images can reused, reproduced, and re-hashed free, so perhaps a popular application contains a hotlink to this free image.
“These are very strange, because they come from different IPs of wildlife, following the type of daily traffic, so we are guessing that there are several mobile apps used in India that hotlink the image above as such. A splash screen, “the post said. It is noteworthy that the popularity of flower paintings rose dramatically in June 2020 when India decided to ban TikTok altogether in the name of national security. For those who want access to the platform’s content despite the ban, the image of the flower may used by India’s new short video platform, Hype, or the original TikTok app. There may be some connection to the End Trace app.
The identity of the app is currently unknown, but the Wikimedia server in Singapore still receives millions of requests for this humble image.