A popular female coding Instagram account that said men 'suffer from biases equally to women' was created by a man, report says

  • The person behind a female coder's Instagram account is a man, 404 Media reports.

  • The page, called coding_unicorn, has 115,000 followers and claims to be run by a woman called Julia.

  • But in reality, a male software developer called Eduards Sizovs set it up, the report said.

A popular Instagram account fronted by a woman named Julia Kirsina is run by a man, according to a 404 Media investigation.

Kirsina has 115,000 followers on coding_unicorn, a page that describes itself as: "The best coding account on IG."

The account posts "no-BS coding, career, productivity tips," along with selfies of Kirsina. But in reality, the person running the account is a male software developer called Eduards Sizovs, according to a 404 Media report.

The publication investigated coding_unicorn after Sizovs, who is the founder of a software development conference named DevTernity, came under fire for including at least one fake female speaker in the line-up for a recent event.

404 Media dug into Sizovs' IP logs and old YouTube videos, and said it found that he had access to an email account called coding_unicorn. Business Insider was unable to independently verify the logs or videos.

Kirsina has her own LinkedIn account with more than 8,000 followers. Her account shows several links to companies and projects run by Sizovs, the report said.

404 Media also found that many of Kirsina's posts were copied word for word from Sizov's own posts on LinkedIn.

Is Julia Kirsina real?

It is unknown who the woman in coding_unicorn's photos is, and whether she is real or fake.

Kirsina was interviewed by developer community platform Hashnode's blog, Town Hall, in May 2020, where she described herself as a freelancer who was forced into getting her computer science degree by her parents.

In response to a question about the bias women face in the industry, said she didn't like "seeing women as victims" because "such a mindset turns men into suspects."

"Men suffer from biases equally to women," she said. "Think of job interviews."

She added that "too much attention" was given to gender bias" and more should be given to "doubt avoidance" and "disliking bias."

"Stop blaming others for being biased," she said. "Improve yourself!"

The writer of the piece, Bolaji Ayodeji, told 404 Media: "I didn't speak with this person, and the interview and conversation happened via email. Thank you."

There are several videos on the Instagram account which show the woman. In one, the woman in the photos shares career advice allegedly heard from Microsoft engineer Satya Nadella, saying hiring managers ask two questions during interviews: Do they create clarity, and do they create energy?

"Clarity and energy," the caption of the reel reads. "So simple and powerful."

BI has reached out to Sizovs and Kirsina for comment.

Controversy over fake female panelists

The controversy around Sizovs first appeared on November 24th when engineer Gergely Orosz claimed that several women listed to speak at Devternity were made up to "seem like there will be more women speaking."

They included Anna Boyko, who was listed as being an engineer at Coinbase, and Alina Prokhoda, described as being an MVP at Microsoft.

Sizovs responded to Orosz's accusations on X on the same day. He said he secured the participation of two female panelists — head of developer relations at Amazon Web Services, Kristine Howard, and Julia Kirsina — but both withdrew their participation.

Sizovs said he had left both speaker profiles up on the website while he continued searching for replacement speakers.

He admitted that at least one profile on the line-up was a "demo persona" that was "auto-generated, with a random title, random Twitter handle, random picture." The profile has since been removed.

Sizovs said that the profile wasn't an attempt at bolstering the event's diversity but was a bad administration slip-up on his part.

In another X post, Sizovs said the profile was a mistake that he had fixed, and accused his critics of wanting "blood."

"Let's cancel this SINNER!" he said. "The amount of hate and lynching I keep receiving is as if I would have scammed or killed someone. But I won't defend myself because I don't feel guilty. I did nothing terrible that I need to apologize for."

Kristine Howard, an executive at Amazon Web Services, confirmed with Bloomberg via email that she pulled out from the event.

"This whole conference debacle is so disappointing. Speakers like myself, when invited to a conf will immediately say 'who alls gonna be there?'" Scott Hanselman, a Microsoft executive who pulled out from the event, wrote on X.

"I've my rules for participation posted on my site - including an inclusive lineup - for years. I was duped by the fake speakers also," he continued.

In response to questions about cancelling the conference, Sizovs previously told BI: "All resources will be updated as soon as wrongdoers stop attempting to hack / brute-force / social-engineer our resources, including websites, social media profiles, and emails, which makes the situation worse," Sizovs wrote in his email.

"It's now obvious that someone wanted to intentionally damage the conference."

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