Twitter has been a potential field of land mines this week, but yesterday brought a very strange story to the forefront. Vibranium was trending on the platform and that must have looked strange for people who weren’t clued in on the situation. The USDA accidentally included Black Panther’s fictional nation of Wakanda in their Tariff Tracker. Of course, this led to some serious jokes from various users all across the site as they processed how a United States sanctioned entity made such a random mistake. If you’ve seen Black Panther or are familiar with the comics, you know that Vibranium can be kind of hard to get a hold of. So, when the United States takes the number one distributor off the table, it only makes sense that people would flip out.
NBC News talked to the man who kickstarted this firestorm, Francis Tseng, who is currently a fellow at the Jain Family Institute. Tseng stumbled upon the entry on the website Wednesday morning while doing some research. He immediately double checked his work and was bewildered when he figured out the nation was indeed fictional.
Mike Illenberg, a USDA spokesperson said in a statement, “Over the past few weeks, the Foreign Agricultural Service staff who maintain the Tariff Tracker have been using test files to ensure that the system is running properly. The Wakanda information should have been removed after testing and has now been taken down."
Tseng’s account begins, “I definitely did a double take. I Googled Wakanda to make sure it was actually fiction, and I wasn’t misremembering. I mean, I couldn’t believe it.”
“I was trying to figure out whether this is someone at the USDA making a joke or if it’s a developer who accidentally left it in, but I’m not sure,” he added.
Other upcoming Marvel Studios movies include Black Widow on May 1, 2020, The Eternals on November 6, 2020, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on February 12, 2021, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on May 7, 2021, Spider-Man 3 on July 16, 2021, and Thor: Love and Thunder on November 5, 2021.
Check out some of the best tweets below:
Now come on, I know the GOP is mad about the impeachment but this is a step too far. Hatin' on Wakanda.
Where am I going to get my vibranium now? pic.twitter.com/93XoysyOKU— 🦇Caudle🦇 @MFF (@Caudlewag) December 19, 2019
Clicked to see why “vibranium” was trending and pic.twitter.com/syW7KJkDXL— Kim 🦜🌴🐠 (@kikacol) December 19, 2019
A vast and insidious conspiracy
Think on this!
What if America has had dealing Vibranium for years and we are now only finding out because of the black panther movie. Wake up Wakanda is real pic.twitter.com/SSYZtJAjxy— Sweet Potato Spiced Latte (@DymNoDozen) December 19, 2019
Disclosure: ComicBook is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.