Grumpy kid featured in fake Facebook post

Story by CBC Kids News • 2018-11-21 15:57

Mom upset her son’s photo was possibly used to make money

Imagine waking up to find your school photos splashed all over the internet, with the person doing the sharing pretending to be your dad.

That’s what an American woman who goes by the handle LaShunta Arnold on Facebook said happened to her son this week.

A man using the Facebook handle EL Prive posted her son’s grumpy photos on Facebook, saying the boy was frowning because he had eaten the boy's Pop-Tart.

Screenshots online suggest the original post contained links to a #poptartforeverfund and a mobile payment service called Cash App.

Post reads: Y'all pray for my son, nothing wrong with him but I ate his pop tart before his class picture and he said he never smiling again.

Two days later, Arnold shared El Prive’s post on Facebook, saying it’s “not funny” that he was posing as her son’s father.

“I don’t care if it is just a joke,” she wrote. “Don’t be out here trying to use our son for likes or money.”

So Kari's school pics from last year went viral. Nothing we can do about that part. It is what it is. But it still doesn't sit well with me that he's being posted world wide. However, if you happen to see a post where someone is claiming him as their child, that is not funny. I don't care if it's just a joke. Don't be out there trying to use our son for likes or money. That's lame and disrespectful.

Later that day, El Prive wrote on Facebook that he raised $23.52 off the post and would be donating the money to a local youth shelter, as well as $200 of his own money.

He also said he didn’t mean to offend the boy’s family.

On Wednesday, he posted that he’d lost his job.

Lost my job over misunderstanding and numerous calls to my corporate office for accusations of fraud and being on the news. Mission accomplished people.

Michael Johnson, director of education for a media literacy group called Media Smarts, said this story worries him for two reasons.

First of all, he said, it’s disrespectful and an invasion of privacy to share somebody’s photo online without permission.

Secondly, Johnson said, these sorts of posts add to the feeling that nothing online can be trusted — even those stories that are posted by trustworthy sources.

This means people are less likely to believe well-researched and fact-checked stories, he said.

Instead, Johnson said, people are more likely to believe whoever does the “best job” of telling a story or whoever tells that story in a way that confirms what they already believe.

How to check if a post is fake

It doesn’t take more than a few minutes to check if an online post is true, Johnson said.

Here are some tips:

Still unsure, click here to watch our fake news explainer.

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