On July 28, 2011, a 32-year-old Uzbek woman studying in Munich named Gulsumoy Abdujalilova joined Facebook, except she didn’t. Then, earlier this month, after horrific abuses from the Uzbekistan government, she tragically and spectacularly took her own life, except she didn’t, because she had never existed in the first place.
Beginning this summer, someone launched an elaborate hoax that fooled members of the Uzbek opposition, Uzbek human rights community, the Uzbek and English-language media— and me. Over four months, Gulsumoy updated her page several times each week. She wrote about mundane events — missing her mother, getting the flu, the arrival of Ramadan — and, often, about politics. Gulsumoy posted links to stories about corruption in the Uzbek government and protest movements organized by Uzbeks abroad. (via The Strange Saga of a Made-Up Activist and Her Life—and Death—as a Hoax - Sarah Kendzior - The Atlantic)