Boo, the tiny Pomeranian widely accepted as the world's cutest dog (or at least a very convincing Beanie Baby), had his fame called into question this week when it was discovered that his nearly 5 million Facebook "likes" may not be entirely legitimate. While the dog is legitimately cute, the pup has apparently been hiding a dark secret: his human caretaker is a Facebook insider who may have other interests in his celebrity.
Bespectacled super sleuth Mike Isaac of AllThingsD broke this very important story wide open yesterday when his sources inside Facebook, the world's best source for all things "world's best," outed Boo's owner as Irene Ahn — a top dog in the company's finance department. Ahn has been with Facebook since 2008 and Boo has been on Facebook since 2009, but it wasn't until human garbage can Ke$ha called Boo her "new boyfriend" on Twitter a year later, that the dog's page started to take off.
From there Boo was on a familiar, late-aughts rocket to internet stardom: a Kardashian blogged his photo, Good Morning America came calling and the fuzzy little canine even got a book deal through San Francisco-based Chronicle Books out of the whole thing.
While neither Ahn nor Boo are speaking to the press these days, preferring to remain out of the spotlight unless that spotlight is a Facebook photo album, the suspicious connection between Boo's widespread celebrity and Facebook's revenue is now being questioned as well. As Betabeat Reporter (and friend of SFist) Jessica Roy asks in her own (ahem) exposé:
Curious, isn’t it, that Mr. Dog boasts close to 5 million fans on Facebook, where his owner’s boss is banking on that kind of user engagement? And with a powerful parent like that, he surely didn’t earn those fans through sheer cuteness alone.
Facebook is undoubtedly the internet’s primary information source for news on Boo the Dog. That seems rather suspicious. And how did he score that coveted three-letter Facebook user ID?
How indeed, Ms. Ahn.
Anyway, because clicking the Like button is basically the same thing as petting it until it loves you and follows you home and ohmygod can I keep him?, we don't expect the accusations of puppy nepotism to slow Boo's meteoric rise to fame.