The man who has died in three terror attacks this year

Not only has this mystery man been reported dead multiple times, the reason for this misinformation is if possible more baffling.

If Mark Twain felt miffed when he read his own obituary, but the countless obituaries posted online for this unnamed man go beyond exaggeration into carefully orchestrated farce.

The man has appeared in several social media posts, which claim he is a victim of the attack on the EgyptAir crash. A tweet by "Perro al-Baghdadi" first appeared on May 19th.

Weeks later, a video by the New York Times reporting on the Orlando shooting featured a photo of the unnamed man. The video has since been updated to include this message:

Screengrab via New York Times

Most recently the man was linked to the terrorist assault on Atatürk airport in Istanbul, this time by Twitter user 'Batiato'.

The man's insertion into world tragedy has not been restricted to pretending he was a victim. He has also been connected with the shots fired into a crowd of striking teachers in Southern Mexico on June 19th. In this instance he was identified as the man who ordered the shooting, not as a victim.

A reverse Google Image search of the man reveals the extent of the prank.

The individual hoaxes had been pieced together by France 24, who tracked down the pranksters in Mexico, to find out their motive. The reason they gave was bizarre.

Speaking to France 24, one of the perpetrators said:

This man used to be my friend but he’s cheated money out of at least four people who I know. I lodged both civil and criminal complaints against him, but because the legal proceedings are dragging on and he still hasn’t given us back our money, we decided to punish him by posting his photo online. Our goal is to ruin his reputation. We want the whole world to recognise his face.

Versions of this story were repeated by other social media users who were involved in the hoax. The money they were owed by the man, who France 24 chose not to name, ranged in amount from small units to $1000 USD.

The unique form of revenge underlines the need for skepticism when it comes to using Twitter as a source of news.

How exactly being reported dead will "ruin his reputation" remains unclear.

One of the many pranksters involved, 'Perro al-Bagdahda', remains satisfied with the scheme. He posted about the coverage of the hoax by news outlets, both before and after the deception was exposed:

The unidentified man explained his take on events:

My photo is everywhere because of someone who started it as a prank after a legal dispute. I never reported the people who did this to me because, in Mexico, nothing ever happens in these kind of cases...Now, my photo has appeared in several stories that were widely shared on Twitter. I contacted several media outlets like the BBC and the New York Times and asked them to delete my photo but they never responded.

Revenge porn has already been legislated against in the United Kingdom, but this evolving form of internet revenge is not cited in the government legislation.

The real twist would be if this man's being included in news stories as a hoax, was itself an elaborate hoax to generate fake news stories about the hoax.

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