Following an extensive police hunt for a missing French boy, it has emerged that the infant was a social media invention.
Feared kidnapped, Chayson Basinio was reported missing on Friday by a woman claiming to be his great-aunt. According to the Guardian, local police in France’s mountainous region of Auvergne were told the two year-old boy was last seen in a supermarket car park before disappearing. The woman claimed that the child’s parents were separated and could not be contacted.
The police discovered what they believed to be photographs of the young boy with his father on Facebook. While police discovered no further trace of the boy, fears grew that he had drowned, causing a judge to order the lake to be dredged.
After days without any trace of the boy outside of the online world, police became suspicious of loopholes in the great-aunt’s story.
It soon emerged that the woman had completely fabricated the lost boy with the help of her daughter and her cousin. The trio created a false Facebook profile that used pictures taken from various other accounts on the site to bring the story to life.
Fake accounts and false crimes
This is not the first case of a crime investigation being based on false information from a social media account. Following the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting in the US, the police came across various Twitter users falsely claiming to be shooter.
In another case, a US woman wrote abusive messages to herself using a fake Facebook account created in the name of her former boyfriend, before passing them on to the police.
Facebook estimates that between 5.5% and 11.2% of its 1.2 billion active users are fake, meaning that as many as 67 million Facebook accounts are in existence.
Feature image: BATH, UK – MAY 4, 2011: Close-up of the Facebook homepage displayed on a LCD computer screen with silhouette of a man’s head and hand out of focus in the foreground. via Shutterstock / coyright: antb