The rumors surrounding Miley Cyrus's new song "Flowers" are already out of control — and it's a genius marketing tactic

Side-by-side photos show Miley Cyrus in the music video for "Flowers" and on the red carpet with ex-husband Liam Hemsworth.
Some fans believe Miley Cyrus' new song, "Flowers," is directed at Liam Hemsworth.Miley Cyrus/Youtube, Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
  • Miley Cyrus fans and fan accounts are sharing unsubstantiated rumors about her latest track across social media.

  • Much of the lore is tied to supposed not-so-secret messages Cyrus is sending about her ex Liam Hemsworth.

  • Regardless of their veracity, the rumors are garnering buzz and selling records.

A tenet of Twitter is if you say something with enough chutzpah and confidence, someone will believe it to be true.

However, the rumors surrounding Miley Cyrus's new single "Flowers" have taken things to the next level.

There are so many rumors — most of them unsubstantiated — that it's hard to tell where they originated and how far from Cyrus's reality they've been hatched. Fan accounts claim the song is a response to Bruno Mars's "When I Was Your Man," which her ex Liam Hemsworth supposedly dedicated to her at their wedding; and that she's recreating a scene from "The Joker," which is supposedly Hemsworth's favorite movie. Fans also claim that the music video for "Flowers" was filmed in a house where Hemsworth cheated on her 14 times. Fourteen times. A remarkably specific rumor and data point.

The tweets promulgating these claims have gone hugely viral: 10,000 retweets, 50,000 likes, 55,000 views. And the top tweets for "Miley Cyrus 'Flowers'" pulls up a steady echo stream of these unverified reports. One scroll through them can have anyone convinced that they're true.

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There are enough Easter eggs in the song to draw a safe conclusion that Cyrus's single was inspired by her relationship with Hemsworth. (The song was released on Hemsworth's birthday, the chorus does directly mirror "When I Was Your Man," and one lyric alludes to losing their house in 2019's Woolsey fire, which destroyed celebrity homes across Malibu.)

But the major fan and pop culture accounts that seemed to have started the most salacious and unproven rumors can't say how they know about them. Insider reached out to ten accounts that posted some of the most circulated and cited tweets about Hemsworth's supposed infidelity and all the subtle "fuck-yous" sprawled throughout the music video's imagery. Four accounts insisted that they heard these accounts directly from sources close to her. Twitter account @ThePopTingz, one of the first users to plant these rumors, refused to reveal their sources.

"I would love to help you...unfortunately I do not know how I would benefit from revealing my sources," they wrote in a message.

Several Miley Cyrus fan accounts — many of which have tens of thousands of followers each — claim they've been a part of private group chats over the years between her megafans and "people pretty close to her." They claim to know things that journalists and the general public don't — but they also won't reveal more about how they know.

"We can't always tell, or even if we tell, no one believes it 'cause we can't fully say who told us," the person behind the account @mileycyrusvibez told Insider in DMs. "People might lose their jobs, and we might lose the chance to feel closer to her and kinda feel like we are her team somehow." (Several fan accounts sent Insider links to old stories and interviews as proof that Hemsworth cheated, piecing together their timelines and filling out gaps in the couple's narratives themselves.)

Hemsworth's camp has not returned a request for comment, and a spokesperson for Cyrus declined to comment on the rumors.

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Safe to say, it's impossible to know what lore fans have convinced themselves to be true based on deductive reasoning and what they have actually heard directly from these allegedly credible secret sources.

 

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But, if we can ponder for a second, does it matter if we get emphatic confirmation about this gossip? OK, ethically, yes. It's socially unacceptable and irresponsible to spread unfounded rumors as fact. But it's become a smart marketing ploy to garner more buzz for a song release. It adds another exciting experiential element for listeners to mine lyrics and visuals for clues about a celeb's personal life. It doesn't serve Cyrus or her record label to shut these rumors down, if they are, in fact, untrue. (Insider has asked Cyrus and her team why they haven't.)

Speculation about an artist's interpersonal life, in fact, often fuels music releases. For proof, consider Taylor Swift.

Swift buries clues for fans in her songs, and fans hunt for them ferociously as soon as the song is released. It's almost become a sport. Fans build community by sharing revelations with each other, and Swift racks up repeated views and listens. Because Swift never denies or confirms any theories, however personal, she'll continue to sell records, attract headline attention, and build a kindred cult-like relationship with her fans.

"It's a two-way street, and you don't get that with other artists," a person who runs a Swift superfan Twitter account told The Washington Post in October when her "Midnights" album dropped. "For somebody at that level of success and level of fame to still stay connected and drop these theories and be interactive in the game with us — that's what makes it so interesting."

Music should be up for interpretation and interpolation. That's the fun, after all, right?

The line between harmless hearsay and gossip and spreading deliberate misinformation is tenuous. It's, on the one hand, a tool for Cyrus to use to her advantage, and, on another, a potentially dangerous way that social media remains unregulated and untethered. "Flowers" rumors have spiraled so far out of control that they've become a meme.

"This part of miley cyrus' flowers video is a reference to how liam hemsworth would fly around malibu in a helicopter shining spotlights to find girls to cheat on her with omg," one person joked.

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For those who aren't following these threads, or who lack the media literacy to understand these tweets as jokes and not substantiated facts, it can tread into more muddy and headachy territory.

For now, we won't be able to find much clarity in this sensational internet fodder or be able to wrangle it in. The only people who know what happened are Cyrus and Hemsworth. And as long as they remain mum on the subject, more people will be curious enough to stream "Flowers," likely repeatedly, to find their own answers.

Read the original article on Insider