At Fabulous 103 we often get complaints that our news DOESNT carry stories read on the net. “its not that hard.. just read whats out there” is a common message we get. the truth.. is miles for that, as you can see here..
With anyone able to set up a website or Facebook page, so the chances of fake, misleading or downright lying “News” becomes more and more probable.
Its weird but simply seeing a story neatly laid out on a webpage incites enough people to take it at face value and not question it in any way
The recent reports of a Frenchwoman in Chiang Mai are a classic example. “Someone” created a fake page and in an all bells and whistles page told readers that she had reported herself being raped to police who subsequently arrested her and jailed her, then as she was finally released she was arrested again for overstay that had occurred during her jail time, and was due to be deported and blacklisted from return.
Pretty sensational story huh? One that grabbed readers who shared it, tricked several on-liners to repost it and add their own comments, in some cases quite vitriolic toward the Thai authorities. Of course it hit Facebook and spread like oil on water.
But none of it is true. It was a scam. Perhaps an experiment to see how far fake news could travel. If it was that, then the experiment was a success. Parts of it may have had an element of truth, thats the work of a good conman, but essentially it was a scam.
Funding was “begged for” and you were invited to send it to a Kasikorn bank account because ” Paypal rules wouldnt let them collect through Paypal”
The truth is that payapal wont work for scammers nowadays as you can request a refund of money sent privately at any time six months after sending it.
Fabulous 103FM didn’t run the story, it was not possible to corroborate or substantiate the story. That’s not to say we won’t get tricked at some time, but in this instant we weren’t.
Stickboy, (Someone we at fab 103 have a lot of time for), was the first to realize that the story was full of holes. The sequence of events caught his eye, it was all out of order. The begging for onliners to send money to “help her” was an odd one too and so much more simply didn’t make sense. He pulled the initial report on his page, and then of course the others followed.
SO HOW DID IT HAPPEN? Well the spoofers simply found a web address close to that of an established Newspaper in the region and used it. It easy. You could start a “Fabulous-103.com site tomorrow, and lo and behold, it would appear to be us. Only the “-“ to separate the real from the fake.
The Chiang Mai Mail is a well established paper with a good team and experienced ownership. It has already attempted to file police action against the fakers. Will that work? Who knows. The internet is like ether, its easy to hide in it.
DAMAGE DONE: Spoofing readers apart, these type of tricks serve to reduce the credibility of the real news sources. In an extreme case it could cause serious problems with the authorities and certainly doesn’t motivate real news reports
So if there is a lesson to be learned, its got to be, don’t believe everything you read on the net.
Stickboy from the start saw the story as dubious. Stickboy.com carried the following from the start:
I tried to find the original story of her arrest but hit a brick wall so cannot verify any of the information shared by Marjorie’s friends or the Chiang Mai Mail.
I also don’t understand her re-arrest and incarceration at the IDC in Bangkok as her visa would be carried over from her time in prison and as the charges were dropped she would be in a position to extend or renew it.
Then comes the 3 year blacklisting. According to the new laws which came into effect on Sunday 20th March – days after it’s claimed she was sent to Bangkok by immigration officials in Chiang Mai which would mean her overstay would not result in being blacklisted – state that you are blacklisted for 3 years if you surrender to authorities with an overstay of more than 1 year. If the details of her arrest by immigration officers are correct and the new rules applied that would mean Marjorie is facing a ten year ban, not three.
( Now thats homework)