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Identities of the Dead Stolen in Vile #Twitter Smear #Campaign

themalaymailonline.com
Malaysian-born Claire Rewcastle Brown likely expected some form of rebuttal after she wrote a story detailing an embezzlement scandal which left the state funds treasury of the nation $700 million poorer and the president $700 million richer. What she likely didn't expect was a torrent of abuse on Twitter emanating from people who are supposed to have died recently. Before you panic, no, Twitter has not become some kind of online Ouija board, like in that Japanese horror film, people are just being horrible, as per usual.

Fake accounts have been set up on the sites using the identities of the recently deceased, and then morphed into disturbing hatred-cannons, cannons which have been pointed directly at Brown. The deceased in question were a British Arctic explorer named Phillip Goodeve-Docker and a Texan WWII veteran named Samuel Morehead. Both died in 2013. The accounts created under their names were used to promote Facebook posts which accused Brown of fabricating the accusations against the Malaysian PM.

Around 19 other identities were stolen to do the same thing, but they didn't necessarily also belong to dead people. You would think that this is the exact kind of thing that Twitter is outfitted to root out before it ever gets this far, but clearly this isn't always the case, and both Twitter and Facebook have been criticised in some circles for making it too easy to formulate such smear campaigns. More worryingly, despite getting the law involved, Brown has yet to actually persuade Twitter to deal with this problem, even amidst complaints by the families of the deceased.

The hijacking of deceased identities on social media, for smearing or anything else, is sadly far from uncommon. A close friend of mine underwent a horrible ordeal a few years ago when her late father's Facebook was hacked and made into a dummy account for a gambling promoter. This is not the first adversity Brown has faced since breaking the story, however. There is a warrant out for her arrest, should she ever return to Malaysia and here in the UK she was given police protection after someone followed her through Hyde Park and took pictures.



Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF


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Identities of the Dead Stolen in Vile #Twitter Smear #Campaign Reviewed by Callum Davies on Saturday, November 21, 2015 Rating: 5

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