While social media platforms offer us connectivity like we’ve never had before, they can also be somewhat of a danger, especially when we don’t know who is lurking behind the page. The thing about social media is that, unlike having to get a license to drive, anyone can start an account, which means there are bound to be some fake pages, photos and stories floating around out there.
With Black Lives Matter a major movement these days, it’s not surprising that several pages dedicated to the cause were created on Facebook, but one, in particular, had a lot more fans than the rest with 700,000 followers and $100,000 in donations received. But, here’s the thing…the page is a fake.
And to make matters worse, the founder of the page, Ian Mackay, is a white Australian male.
As far as the donations are concerned, the users who provided them were told that they were going toward the fight against racial issues in America. Investigators later found that some of that money was paid into Australian bank accounts.
Investigators also discovered that the page, which used the URL facbook.com/blacklivesmattered1 was created and run by fake individuals named, ‘BP Parker’ and ‘Steve Parks.’ Both of these profiles linked to domains that were owned by Mackay.
In order to receive the funds, ‘BP Parker’ and ‘Steve Parks’ encouraged followers to go to PayPal, Classy, Patreon, and Donorbox to make payments toward the cause. As soon as PayPal and Patreon got word that the page was a fake, they suspended any funds associated with the page and by that point Donorbox and Classy had already put a halt to collecting money from the page.
The Facebook page isn’t the only thing that was registered to Mackay’s name, as he also had registered websites including blackpowerfist.com and blacklivesmatter.media, where he directed followers of his Facebook page to go.
When Facebook was initially approached about the fake page by investigators, they claimed that it didn’t ‘breach their community standards’ and refused to suspend it, however; a week later they agreed to take down the page only because one of the administrator accounts had been suspended.
In response to investigators questioning his history with the page, Mackay said that he purchased the domain name and sold it, not admitting to the other unethical things that he did with the page.
“My domain name buying and selling is a personal hobby,” said Mackay, who resigned from his role as vice president of the National Union of Workers (NUW).”
NUW made the following statement regarding Mackay’s employment…
“The NUW has launched an investigation into claims made by a CNN report and has suspended the relevant officials pending the outcome of an investigation. The NUW is not involved in and has not authorized any activities with reference to claims made in CNN’s story.”
As to be expected, commenters had a lot to say about Mackay’s scam…
“What’s so surprising to me is that it only took in $100 K in donations. I would have thought that millions would have been donated. Hmmm….”
“Black Lives Matter is fake…I’m shocked!!”