Back in 2011, illustrator Erica Glasier created this artwork for a Forbes article titled ‘The Bank of Facebook: Currency, Identity, Reputation’. For reasons that no-one can find out, that image now makes up one in every 120 images on Imgur, the internet’s leading photo repository.

The phenomenon seems to have been first spotted by a Reddit user back in February, and more recently analyzed in detail by TheGamble. He analyzed a million random Imgur URLs, and recorded what was found at each one. Monopoly Man, as Glasier’s image has been dubbed, showed up 3,568 times. That’s 0.833% of all Imgur images, meaning that it’s probably been uploaded around 3.2 million times — an absurdly high number for anything that’s not the work of some secret Illuminati botnet.

Interestingly, the phenomenon of bizarre uploads isn’t just restricted to Monopoly Man — other images, like these smartphones or the ‘White Line’ also appear more than they have any right to. Most likely, it’s some kind of programming quirk, or Imgur test file; but then again, this sounds way too much like an NSA plot to be explained away by technospeak. Monopoly Man truthers, unite. What’s your theory?

[Reddit]

Image credit: Erica Glasier/Forbes