The first mention of meme factories seems to have been a slide in a 2010 TED talk by Christopher Poole, the founder of the controversial uncensored internet forum 4chan.
4chan, said Poole, was “completely raw, completely unfiltered”. He introduced his audience to the new internet phenomenon of “memes” coming out of the forum, including LOLcats and Rickrolling – the largest memes to have emerged in the 2000s.
They commissioned artists to “live-GIF” the 2012 US Presidential Election debates in an assembly line of soft political content.
On reddit’s gaming communities, activating a meme factory requires willing members to react with coordinated (and at times, inauthentic) action by flooding social media threads.
Amid K-pop fandoms on Twitter, meanwhile, K-pop idols who are prone to making awkward or funny expressions are also affectionately called meme factories, with their faces used as reaction images.