One thing appears to be amiss with the various speaker listing of the Devternity and JDKon developer conferences. The ladies, a few of whom allegedly work for the mother or father firm of each conferences, Dev.occasions, don’t seem to exist. Devternity founder Eduards Sizovs has come beneath fireplace for creating pretend ladies visitor audio system for the occasions — and presumably creating a preferred “tech influencer” that’s amassed over 115,000 real-world followers on Instagram.
As first famous by 404 Media, on November 24th, engineer Gergely Orosz claimed that a number of ladies listed to look as Devternity audio system — together with Coinbase workers engineer Anna Boyko and Coinbase “software program craftswoman” Natalie Stadler — didn’t truly exist and have been made up by the occasion organizers to “seem to be there can be extra ladies talking.”
Orosz additionally claimed that the profile for Microsoft MVP and WhatsApp senior engineer Alina Prokhoda — a speaker set to look on the JDKon 2024 convention for Java builders (run by Dev.occasions, the corporate additionally behind Devternity) — had no on-line presence outdoors of the occasion and was probably pretend as nicely.
Coinbase has confirmed to The Verge that the corporate “just isn’t conscious of any Coinbase workers talking on the convention,” however didn’t make clear if Boyko or Stadler have been actual workers. Now we have contacted Microsoft and Meta to confirm if Prokhoda was ever employed by the businesses. Or higher but, if she even exists.
In a lengthy response to Orosz’s accusations on X (previously Twitter), Devternity founder Eduards Sizovs admitted that a minimum of one profile was “auto-generated, with a random title, random Twitter deal with, random image,” used for web site testing, and shouldn’t have featured within the speaker lineup. Sizovs claims that he first seen the problem in October however elected to maintain the unspecified pretend persona stay whereas looking for substitute audio system.
Sizovs claims two ladies audio system who have been initially lined as much as attend the Devternity convention — head of developer relations at Amazon Internet Companies, Kristine Howard, and “tech influencer” Julia Kirsina — dropped out of the occasion, leaving it with a “worse-than-expected stage of range of audio system.” Which is definitely a rationale for retaining pretend ladies in your speaker listing to make your convention seem extra various than it’s, however not an excellent one.
Sizovs implies that the shortage of range for visitor audio system was resulting from “1000s of occasions chasing the identical small sub-group of feminine audio system,” and that reserving three (certainly one of which included the now-removed pretend profile for Anna Boyko) was someway a commendable achievement. It ought to be famous that the Devternity convention doesn’t settle for exterior functions to talk on the occasion and as a substitute chooses to contact speakers directly.
However wait a minute, we nonetheless haven’t talked about that one probably pretend influencer. Julia Kirsina, who goes by Coding Unicorn on social media, has over 115,000 followers on Instagram and lists the Devternity convention as certainly one of her employers on LinkedIn. Sizovs claims that her dropping out of the conferences is partially what led to this entire home of faux ladies collapsing. However evidently Kirsina may also be pretend!
Regardless of being named a Devternity speaker on a number of events, Kirsinia doesn’t seem to have ever delivered a chat. Orosz noted the possibility she was fake in his initial investigation, as did some other developers. Noted hacker SheNetworks claims that Sizovs himself could also be “catfishing” because the influencer, pointing to a string of proof on X that exhibits Sizovs had access to the Coding Unicorn Google account, and that Kirsina used the moniker “eduardsi” in Instagram posts of her coding. Eduardsi sounds rather a lot just like the deal with of somebody with a reputation like Eduards Sizovs. A larger report by 404 Media provides weight to those claims, noting that a number of of Kirsina’s LinkedIn and Instagram posts have been copied word-for-word from Sizovs’s personal social media accounts.
The Coding Unicorn influencer accounts have been described as “paying homage to catfishing or sales space babery.”
Developer advocate Liz Fong-Jones additionally believes that Sizovs is masquerading as Kirsina, saying that her posting historical past is “paying homage to catfishing or sales space babery” and that she had offered opinions for tasks led by Sizovs with out disclosing a connection. “If a person is dishonest to the purpose of making an attempt to infiltrate ladies in tech communities and doing the shitty trope of ‘flash pores and skin for further attain/views’, they need to be ejected from our business fully,” mentioned Fong-Jones in her statement on Linkedin. “This type of shit makes each single girl should show herself 100x tougher to show we’re not a ‘pretend’ and that we bought to the place we’re by way of laborious work, not by way of attractive pics/flirting.”
The RISEBA College of Utilized Sciences — one of many faculties that Kirsina claims to have attended between 2011 and 2014 on her LinkedIn Profile to acquire a bachelor’s diploma in data expertise — additionally advised The Verge that its programs “don’t point out any data” of that qualification being transferred to a scholar together with her title.
Sizovs denied creating synthetic profiles to spice up range however hasn’t addressed questions on Kirsina’s attainable existence (and as of publishing, Kirsina has not responded to The Verge’s request for remark). On the time of writing, each the Devternity and JDKon web sites have been taken offline for unexplained causes.
A number of confirmed audio system have since withdrawn from each occasions, with Ruby on Rails creator David Heinemeier Hansson telling 404 Media that he was unhappy with the organizers. “Sizovs’ response to the allegations didn’t go my sniff check, so I withdrew,” he mentioned, including that the organizer’s “failure to reply to my request to be faraway from the convention web site” didn’t assist the state of affairs.
In the meantime, precise ladies builders who exist on this planet proper now live on.