The Australian man claiming to be "Phuc Dat Bich", the Facebook user who had been denied access to the social network as its "Real Name" policy had deemed him a fake, has revealed that the episode was indeed a prank.
Real name Tin Le, a 23-year-old from Melbourne, posted to Facebook, explaining how his screenshot of a doctored Australian passport, seemingly showing the unfortunate name "Phuc Dat Bich" and accompanying sympathetic story fooled the world's media.
Phonetically reading as "Fuck That Bitch" (if you hadn't already figured that out) Tin Le had claimed to have been banned from Facebook multiple times due to the name. Originally sharing the story in January, it went viral in mid-November and had major news outlets such as Sky News and the BBC, reporting the story as true. This was despite the supposed Phuc Dat Bich refusing to give interviews — it transpires not one journalist had received confirmation proving the name was real.
In a Facebook post signed "Joe Carr" (another phonetic play on words — "Joker", geddit?), Tin Le stated that his post was intended to highlight the flaws in Facebook's user name policy:
Facebook needs to understand that it is utterly impossible to legitimise a place where there will always be pranksters and tricksters.
What started as a joke between friends, became a prank that made a fool out of the media and brought out the best in the people who reached out to me. It didn't bring out the anger and darkness that we often see on the internet, but it brought a levity and humanity in a time we need it most.
Out of this ordeal I've concluded not to trust the credibility of the media, it's twisted by the hungry journalists who mask the truth ... It goes to show that an average joe like myself can con the the biggest news sources with ease.
So, remember — not everything you see on the internet is true.
This post originally appeared on Gizmodo UK, which is gobbling up the news in a different timezone.