Conspiracy theories can be taken all-too seriously on the Internet and can cause serious harm, but sometimes, the theories are sheer fun. (And the world could use some levity right now, even if this story is slightly dated.) This was the case when the Tom Hanks tweeted a photo of what he called “the scariest building I’ve ever seen!” He wanted to know what goes on inside, and the answer is a complicated one. The windowless Lower Manhattan building — called the Long Lines Building — was finished in 1974 and is thought to be capable of surviving a nuclear attack and two weeks of off-grid operations.
The tower originally served as a fortress to hold AT&T’s long-distance phone lines, and the building is still used for this purpose. However, a November 2016 investigative report from The Intercept revealed a different use for the building under the National Security Agency code name of Titanpointe. It followed that the skyscraper was used to collect surveillance — as detailed by a short documentary film — of internet data and phone calls of international entities with business in NYC. The report was largely based upon documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden along with interviews, public records, and building plans.
Regardless of how one feels about that potentially frightening chunk of information, Hanks’ followers couldn’t resist tossing out some theories.
And then someone had to spoil the fun with some facts, but another tweeter steered the conversation back into bizarroland.