Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

"Interesting If True" Rule Proven Yet Again in #Amina Syrian Blog Hoax

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, June 13 2011

Back in April, I remember reading this amazing blog post that was forwarded around on Twitter about how a gay woman in Syria had nearly been arrested in the middle of the night, but somehow her father bravely confronted the secret police thugs who came to their door and convinced them to walk away. "Wow, that's almost too good to be true," I thought to myself, and wondered how it could be possible that "My Father, the hero" hadn't been summarily arrested or executed, given the realities of the Syrian regime. I didn't blog or tweet the story, but plenty of well-meaning people did, sending the blog into orbit and nearly a million page views. Well, as NPR's Andy Carvin and others have now demonstrated conclusively, the entire "Gay Girl in Damascus" blog was a complete hoax, written by an American living in Turkey named Tom McMaster who claims it was a fictional writing project that "got way out of hand."

Moral: Listen to Dan Gillmor, who has been making this point for ages. Stories like "Gay Girl in Damascus" belong in the "interesting if true" category.


Watch live streaming video from pdf2011 at livestream.com

News Briefs

RSS Feed today >

First POST: Climate Changes

Google ends its support for ALEC; how network-centric organizing powered the big People's Climate march; is it time to retire the term "blogosphere"; and much, much more. GO

monday >

Germany Releases Open Data Action Plan Amidst Grassroots Enthusiasm and Pirate Party Turmoil

The German government on Wednesday unveiled its open data action plan to implement the open data charter established by the G8, now G7, countries. But while German open government advocates welcomed its release, for them it does not go far enough. Even as the open data movement is taking new hold in Germany on the local level with encouragement from the new Code for Germany effort, in the national Pirate Party, the supposed German net party, internal leadership disputes are overshadowing its digital agenda. GO

First POST: Packed

The impact of Sunday's giant People's Climate march in NYC; how the Kapor Center is increasing the role of minorities in tech; why Uber's business model is anti-worker; and much, much more. GO

friday >

First POST: Scotched

Why conservatives should back net neutrality; how big data may damage civil rights; the ways Silicon Valley start-ups are exploiting freelance workers; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Resets

Apple's new iOS8 promises greater user privacy; Occupy Wall Street three years later; how tech may tilt the Scotland independence vote; and much, much more. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Connecting the Dots

Take Back the Tech grades Facebook, Twitter, et al, on transparency; MayDay PAC founder Lawrence Lessig talks about getting matched funds; and much, much more. GO

More