Recently, one man was reported to have been killed in three separate terrorist attacks. International media outlets printed his name in their list of victims. But when they cross referenced their lists, they realized that they had been duped.
But the story only gets weirder…
The man known only as “Alfonso” was first reportedly killed in the EgyptAir crash in May. Then a few weeks later he was identified as a victim in the Orlando nightclub shooting at Pulse on June 12. And recently, Alfonso was reported to have died in the 45 people brutally slain in the Istanbul airport attack on June 28.
But who is “Alfonso” and how could he have died three times…?
Many people are wondering how one man was able to die in three separate terrorist incidents thousands of miles away from each other. The answer can be found in the inter web of lies spread across social media.
“Help, my brother Alfonso was on Ataturk Airport and we don’t know anything about him, please help #turkey,” one Twitter user wrote after the terrorist attack. They even included the “victim’s” photo in the post to make it seem even more convincing.
After the EgyptAir crash a similar message was shared on Twitter. But it was sent from a different user.
“@EGYPTAIR my brother traveled there, I’m scared for her life. Please help me,” a different Twitter user wrote.
Apparently, Alfonso is indeed a victim. But not of terrorism. He is a victim of a revenge prank that has gone on for far too long…
Below is a statement gathered by France24. They were responsible for tracking down the pranksters who spread the atrocious lies across social media.
“This man used to be my friend but he’s cheated money out of me and at least four people who I know. I lodged both civil and criminal complaints against him, but because the legal proceedings are dragging on and he still hasn’t given us back our money, we decided to punish him by posting his photo online. Our goal is to ruin his reputation. We want the whole world to recognize his face.”
France24 contacted the “con artist” pictured in the photo. Not surprisingly, he confirmed that he was involved in an ongoing legal battle. He allegedly lives in Mexico now.
“My photo is everywhere because of someone who started it as a prank after a legal dispute,” he said. “I never reported the people who did this to me because, in Mexico, nothing ever happens in these kinds of cases.”
Every time he contacted media outlets to remove his photo, they declined.
It’s unclear if the pranksters will face legal consequences. Attorney Fabrice Lorvo told France24 that French officials are currently developing the framework of how to approach cyber-harassment.
“If this situation had taken place in France, the person who first tweeted this man’s photo could face serious legal consequences and even jail time,” Lorvo said. “He could be tried in a civil court for infringing image distribution rights.”
But the incident also shows that the media relies on social media for their “facts.”
“One interesting thing about this case is that it shows that traditional media outlets are more and more influenced by social media,” he said. “Numerous websites shared this man’s photo without verifying its origins!”
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