Of course, there’s no question as to how much people lie on Facebook, although it was quite shocking to hear from my own daughter – some lie just about their age, some about their jobs and some about their entire lives. It might be as harmless as little 9 year old kids pretending to be 13 (I imagine that ‘13’ is the age of most Facebook users) or a 50 year old woman who says she’s 43, or, it could be people lying about who they really are, what their jobs are or even worse.
I think that it was clear from the beginning that social media (and the Internet in general) gives people free passes to lie as much as they want and build online personas that have nothing to do with who they are in their real lies.
But do all people lie on Facebook and on social media? Is there anyone left who is completely truthful?
Catfish, a startling documentary from 2010 showed us just how far people are willing to go on Facebook with lies. The film starts simply enough with a lovely, romantic story of two people falling in love over Facebook. Nev, the protagonist, is filmed by his brother and friend, while he is slowly building a relationship with a beautiful girl named Megan that he has never met in real life, only on Facebook.
She sends him cover songs that she performs for him, photos and heart-melting messages – all before they’ve even met in real life. But surely they know each other – they talk almost daily, he can see her photos and hear her sing, and they sometimes talk on the phone. Slowly, however, Nev and his brother and friend begin to uncover certain holes in his “girlfriends’” story – like, for example, how all of the songs she sent him were taken from YouTube. The brothers then decide to travel to her hometown, to meet Megan and find out the truth, while Nev continues the relationship even though Megan clearly isn’t who she says she is. Megan makes up various excuses to get out of this meeting, but Nev finally meets her and, unsurprisingly, finds out that she isn’t Megan at all, but rather Angela, her mother.
Although Megan is actually her daughter, the pictures she used for the profile were of a family friend. Angela then admits that she was maintaining various Facebook accounts at the same time, so that all of Megan’s stories were validated by her other Facebook ‘friends’.
All in all, I have to say that as a social media marketer I am pretty impressed with Angela’s ability to create and maintain so many different Facebook profiles. I manage myself quite a few at the same time and find it difficult enough without making up people and lives that don’t exist – she could probably make some good money on teaching others on how to manage multiple social media accounts while raising 4 kids (of which two are severally mentally disabled) and lying completely on each one of them!
Of course, there’s much more to the story, but the frightening fact is that people are willing to go really extreme lengths to build personas on Facebook and what scares me even more is that even my own daughter knows it and she isn’t even on Facebook (hopefully!).
Are you scared of the amount of lies that people use on Facebook? Have you ever uncovered anyone lying on social media? Please let us all know in the comments section:) Oh, and if you see my daughter on Facebook by any chance– curly brown hair, big green eyes – please let me know.
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