Young woman’s horrible experience with rumors on Facebook in Mexico

Posted on July 20, 2015 • Filed under: Ecuador, Internet, Social Issues …. A young woman who was subjected to awful rumours online decided to turn the tables by posting a Facebook video criticizing her anonymous bullies.

Lilia Rodriguez had good intentions. Two years ago she started a Facebook page for her local community. It was intended to bring people together in her town, Leon in the state of Guanajuato in central Mexico. But things didn’t turn out as expected and, she told BBC Trending, the group split into factions. “One day, I found out that other people had removed me as an administrator from my own Facebook group,” she says.

She suspects that anger about the falling out over the group prompted some people to take revenge. Whatever the reason, soon she was receiving insulting messages and comments alleging that she slept with a married man – and even that she deliberately gave him HIV. The abuse got so bad that she even changed her name on Facebook, hoping to leave it all behind, only to find out that her story, far from disappearing, had spread even further. She says she couldn’t even walk down the streets of Leon without hearing insults.

Rodriguez tried to quell the rumours as best she could. She had an HIV test to prove that she doesn’t have the virus, and also tried to report the case to the authorities. But, she says, she was told it would be too difficult to identify the person who created a fictional account with her name and image – an account which kicked off the rumour mill.

Finally, she decided to use the same channel that had spread the rumours to try and stop them. She made a Facebook video titled: “My name is Lilia Rodriguez and I don’t have AIDS”.

“This story is completely false,” she says in the video. “The fact that people who don’t know me are judging me and sending me messages telling me all sort of things upsets me… next time you share something, please make sure it is the truth.”

The video spread quickly and now has more than 250,000 views. And it appears to have gone some way towards quelling the rumours. Several Facebook sites that first posted the stories about Rodriguez are now posting retractions. On her own Facebook page, she received hundreds of supportive comments.

But people are still sharing the original rumour, and it looks likely that no action will be taken against the still-anonymous bullies. “The problem is that in Mexico, in order to start an investigation, the case has to be accepted by the attorney’s office, and that hasn’t happened,” says Stephany Capetillo, a lawyer who decided to help Rodriguez after hearing her story on Facebook. “We don’t know for sure who created the false profile that started the rumours, and sharing a post is not considered a crime.” Read Article

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