Fake Carol Todd online
The mother of a Port Coquitlam teen who committed suicide after online bullying and stalking from a cyber-predator says adults need to be just as careful as kids online.
Carol Todd, the mother of Amanda Todd, and her supporters are outing fake Facebook and Twitter profiles that are pretending to be Carol Todd and seeking sympathy, condolences — and perhaps even money — from strangers.
"The message out there is that people need to be more cautious when they are on social media," said Todd, who spent part of the Christmas holiday dealing with the fake social media postings, including a Facebook profile in which a person claiming to be Amanda's mother posted pictures of Amanda and complained that others were impersonating her.
In one screen capture, the fake Facebook profile read: "People are still going off that in (sic) not really Amanda's mother and it breaks my heart to hear that because I raised Amanda, and I love her so much more than anything..."
And while that Facebook profile came down Monday night, Todd say she's not sure if it was removed by Facebook or by the person who created it because she hasn't been contacted by Facebook, although she received an automated message in response to her complaint. She's also concerned about a Twitter account with 198 followers that seems to have gone dormant since Oct. 28 but is still accessible online.
It features photos of Carol and Amanda and promised to set up a website soon, and Todd is worried that individuals might be trying to use worldwide concern over the Amanda Todd story for personal gain.
In the turmoil after Todd's death Oct. 10, a Facebook account was set up by someone claiming to be Carol Todd who was collecting "donations" because she was going to quit her job, and Todd fears there may be others. But with the lack of verification, it's up to individuals to make themselves aware and be more cautious, she said.
"I don't know how many have lost their money to impersonators for this."
In November, Todd signed a letter urging Facebook to fix security failures that could put children in danger. It was also signed by children's singer Raffi Cavoukian, a children's advocate who has started the Red Hood Project to make social media safe for young online users.
The Amanda Todd story still generates interest online but some of it is unsavoury. Todd said someone has been claiming Amanda's story was a hoax. "There's a conspiracy theory that she's alive somewhere," said Todd, who feels these messages are as bullying to her as the hate messages her daughter received while she was alive.
She hopes by raising awareness about the fake Twitter and Facebook profiles she can ensure that people are more cautious in their dealings with social media. "I have people all over the world holding my back up and making sure everything stays honourable," Todd said.
LUNCH ON THE DOWNTOWN EASTSIDE
On a happier note this holiday season, Todd was part of a a group that delivered paper bag lunches, snacks and water to 700 people on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside last Sunday. This was the fifth year for the Paper Bag Project, organized by the Karl Bryan family of Port Moody, and the first time some of the profits from fundraising will go to the Amanda Todd Legacy and Memorial Fund because of connections the Bryan family has with Amanda Todd.
"He wanted to do this in memory of Amanda," said Todd, who was struck by the need but also the emotional support she received from some of the food recipients. One couple approached her with tears in their eyes when they learned she was Amanda's mother. "All they wanted was a hug. Wow, they have all these problems that they are going through with yet they took the time to talk to me and say how sorry they were."
• For more information about the Paper Bag Project, visit www.noresults-nofee.com/paperbagproject.
FAKE AND NOT FAKE
Authentic Carol Todd blog
Official Todd family blog
Authentic Trust Fund
Authentic Carol Todd Twitter