Online Abuse & Fake Social Media Accounts – Part One

Whilst scrolling through blogs, chats, discussion forums, and social media, do you ever stop to wonder if the accounts you are viewing are actually genuine? When you see surprising, embarrassing or highly personal content, does it ever occur to you to ask yourself: Is this really true? Did that person really post it? For the last ten years or so, my social media has been hacked and I have been the subject of numerous fake accounts and profiles that have been created to sabotage my image, reputation, and relationships. Whilst this may sound like self-obsessed, paranoid-crazy-talk to anyone that has never experienced anything like that, a lot of people reading this will know exactly what I’m talking about. In fact, many of them will know a lot more about what was going on than I did, and in quite a few cases they will have been directly involved. For a long time, I have chosen not to speak up publicly about the bullying and abuse that I have experienced for various reasons. Firstly, because to start with I didn’t know what was happening. For a long time, I was completely unaware of the rumours and lies being spread about me and what was going on online and in the fake chats and messages that were being sent supposedly by “me”. However, over time I noticed that people began acting strangely around me and their attitudes towards me had radically changed, but I had no idea why. When I tried to talk to friends and colleagues about what was going on, the reaction from most people was to simply deny that anything was wrong. I continued to lose friends and be ostracized and ridiculed but when I tried to find out why, I was told that I was being paranoid, over-sensitive, self-absorbed “thinking everything was about me”, or that I was “imagining things”. Some of these people may have had no idea what was going on, but in many cases, they knew exactly what I was referring to and were intentionally gas-lighting me. People were lying to protect themselves and others, or perhaps in some cases, they naively thought that by repeatedly denying the truth of the situation, they were somehow protecting me. However, by keeping me in the dark, they denied me the opportunity to speak up and defend myself. How could I stop what was going on if I didn’t know what was happening and where it was coming from? Secondly, I knew that by speaking up, I would be drawing even more attention to the embarrassing content that the perpetrators had created and risking even more people seeing it. I had hoped that if I just ignored their behaviour, they would get bored and it would eventually stop, however, as I now know, this doesn’t necessarily work. When left unchallenged, this type of abuse escalates and spirals out of control. The longer you ignore what is going on, the harder it is to manage. The more rumours, gossips and lies that are circulating about you, the easier it is for others to invent even more elaborate, scandalous stories. In my experience, it seems that most people will believe almost anything about you, as long as enough people have heard it. Plus, unless you have proof or are actively trying to convince everyone that what they are seeing and hearing is not true – which is impossible if you don’t know what’s going on – people will simply believe it without question. Thirdly, I didn’t want to waste my valuable time and energy on this type of negativity. By focusing on something you give power to it. A few of my friends recommended paying someone to investigate what was going on so it could be stopped, but I decided against that option for various reasons. If someone is intent on destroying your reputation on-line, fighting to find and remove embarrassing content on the Internet is like trying to stop the Titanic from sinking with nothing but a bucket to scoop up water and throw it overboard. I could spend a fortune on discovering horrific content about me on-line that could destroy my confidence, only for that to get deleted and for much worse to spring up instantly somewhere else. Also, by then, I had pieced together enough gossip and rumours, to have a fairly clear idea of what was going on and who was behind it, so I didn’t really need to pay someone to tell me what I had already guessed. The question was really whether or not I wanted to confront the people involved and expose what they were doing. As we all know, abusive bullies want a reaction, they love the drama of watching the lives of their victims fall to pieces. Whilst I could not control what they were doing, I could control my reaction to it. By denying them the satisfaction of seeing my life implode, I was showing defiance and strength and not letting them win. Lastly, once I realized the scale of the deception and how much time, effort and “imagination” had gone into creating the fake accounts and malicious content, it began to dawn on me that I was actually dealing with at least one person with serious mental health issues and a viscous vendetta. Did I really want to provoke a psychopath? Being ridiculed and defamed on-line and via chats and WhatsApps is of course horrendous and life-changing, but did I really want to go to war with someone who was clearly unstable and potentially dangerous? Whatever evidence I could get as proof of their illegal and nefarious behaviour would not lock these people up for long – realistically, it wouldn’t lock them up at all – and I would have to spend the rest of my life watching my back. Plus, the damage to my reputation had already been done, I had already lost a lot of friends and professional opportunities over it, but I had survived with my most important relationships intact and after a while, had managed to re-establish my career. Yes, the lies persist, and the abuse continue even today, but it has now faded into the background of my life like white noise. I’ve learned to live with the fact that a lot of people believe things about me that are simply not true. It’s frustrating and unfair but enough important people now know the truth. Therefore, these days, when I am faced with small-minded, gossipy idiots who make stupid comments or jokes based on something they have seen or heard, I just assume they are f*wits and write them off. In fact, it’s quite a useful filtering system, I can quickly see who is worth my time and energy and who isn’t. So, you may be wondering why I have decided to speak up now? Well, a few weeks ago I noticed a new wave of strange comments being directed towards me. I find that when this happens, it’s generally a sign that a new fake account has “appeared” or that some juicy gossip is circulating about me. After a decade of putting up with it, I’ve decided to make a stand. From now on, every time someone insinuates something or acts inappropriately, I will politely ask them what exactly they are referring to and explain the truth of the situation. I am not delusional, and I won’t be the victim of gas-lighting any longer. Quite frankly, I don’t care who believes me and who doesn’t. All I care about is speaking my truth so that the next time someone sees something false about me on-line, they may pause to wonder if it is actually true, instead of just laughing and gossiping and sharing it with even more people. I’ve lived in Spain for a long time now, and one of my favourite Spanish sayings is this…
“El tiempo pone a cada uno en su lugar, Cada reina en su trono, Cada payaso en su circo, Y cada fantasma en su castillo”
Time puts everyone in their place, Every queen on her throne, Every clown in his circus, And every ghost in his castle.
So let this be a warning to whoever is behind this pathetic, vile campaign of hate and sabotage. Right now, I am happily perched on my throne, exactly where I should be, and I’m totally slaying it. Whoever is wasting so much precious time and energy on trying to destroy my image, reputation, relationships, and peace of mind is clearly not where they should be. Whether you end up in a circus, a castle, a prison, or a high-security psych-ward is completely irrelevant to me. What is tragic is that you are wasting your life away by trying to destroy mine. I pity you, and I pity the people who are so easily entertained by you, to be honest, I’m not sure who is more pathetic. Anyway, let it be known throughout the kingdom that you are officially banished from my realm! COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Anna Hudd 2022. This text is copyright protected. All original content published on this website – all original images and text – are the intellectual property of the author/artist/photographer Anna Hudd. The text and images contained within this website may not be reused, edited or manipulated without prior written consent from the copyright holder.

One response to “Online Abuse & Fake Social Media Accounts – Part One”

  1. Oh that is dreadful Anna. In the UK the laws against this sort of thing are getting stricter and sooner or later the pathetic individual who is doing this will be found. Then his reputation will be destroyed and hopefully, he will be jailed.
    Stay strong and speak your truth. Everyone who knows and loves you will defend you with all their might.


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