Who is really winning the social media wars—Kylie Jenner or the unassuming brown egg that has claimed the world record for the most liked photo on Instagram? The egg is the brain child of an anonymous someone who started an Instagram account called @world_record_egg on Jan. 4. The lone post openly launched a campaign to topple Jenner, who had amassed 18 million likes for a picture of her daughter. “Let’s set a world record together and get the most liked post on Instagram,” the post read. “Beating the current world record held by Kylie Jenner (18 million)! We got this.”
The challenger had enough likes to beat Jenner within 10 days, and the margin is growing. At the end of another 24 hours, the egg scored more than 42 million likes—more than any post, anywhere online ever.
The Instagram account owner remains anonymous although there have been a couple of reported sightings. Buzzfeed reports the egg is an offspring of British chicken “Henrietta,” and says the Instagram hen decided to mount the challenge after she “read an article regarding the top 20 posts on insta, Kylie Jenner topped it with 18m.”
“I saw this as a challenge to beat it,” Henrietta wrote in an email interview with Buzzfeed. “It was nothing personal.”
Another report from TMZ initially credited Supreme Patty, who claims 6.2 million IG followers, as the brains who hatched the egg challenge. The gossip site later issued an update saying the egg criticized TMZ’s reporting as fake news. “We’re still anonymous,” TMZ quoted the egg posting on its Instagram story.
The anonymous account holder, whoever that may be, could be sitting on top of a social media goldmine, according to Recode. The size of the Instagram egg audience could earn the account holder tens of thousands of dollars for selling sponsored or branded content. Earnings could be much higher if they snared a full ad campaign.
But time may be running out to cash in on the egg’s exploding popularity. The Internet moves on quickly, and fans are fickle. “The next three days are their time to shine,” Darren Lachtman said when the egg passed the 18 million mark. “I would look at it like diminishing returns every minute that goes by on this.” Lachtman created a social media talent agency called Niche that he sold to Twitter in 2015.
“They hit the lottery and they got a billboard in Times Square for free on Instagram. What are they going to do with it?” he added.
The egg account owner isn’t blind to the possibilities. This message was posted on its Instagram Story: “It doesn’t end here though, we’re only just getting started,” the message read. The next post promised that egg-themed “merch” is on the way. And the merch turns out to be T-shirts and hoodies on sale for $20.
Meanwhile, Jenner continues at the top as a true influencer. Her career has helped turn her cosmetic company into a billion-dollar enterprise. She is a social media mogul with 100 million followers on Instagram, 25 million on Twitter and estimated more than 25 million on Snapchat. Internet A-listers with massive social followings like Jenner make a killing selling sponsored or branded content.
Her response after learning that she had been toppled from the world record may be just as apt as it is funny. Jenner posted a video of herself cracking an egg on the ground alongside the caption: “Take that little egg.”