Phuc Dat Bich admits to hoax after fighting Facebook's name policy
Suspicions about the veracity of an internet-famous man named Phuc Dat Bich were right – his name is fake
A Vietnamese-Australian man's hard-fought battle against Facebook and its controversial 'real name' policy finally came to an end this week – though neither party can really be declared the "winner" of this fight.
Spectators, on the other hand, were left feeling like losers for believing that 'Phuc Dat Bich' was the main contender's actual name when he admitted on Wednesday that the entire campaign was a hoax.
"Do you remember the story; The boy who cried wolf?" wrote the 23-year-old man known widely as Phuc Dat Bich until today. "Imagine that boy grew up into a mischievous man with 21st Century technology at his finger tips."
Those who'd been supporting his recent efforts on Facebook didn't have to imagine.
According to BBC News, the Melbourne resident received hundreds of thousands of likes on a status update last week in which he claimed that Facebook had blocked his account over the Vietnamese name on it.
"I find it highly irritating the fact that nobody seems to believe me when I say that my full legal name is how you see it," he wrote in the status, which was originally posted in January. "I've been accused of using a false and misleading name of which I find very offensive. Is it because I'm Asian? Is it? Having my fb shut down multiple times and forced to change my name to my 'real' name.'"
A photo of an Australian passport bearing the name "Phuc Dat Bich" was included with the post in an apparent attempt to make the grievance seem legit.
The passport image, which disappeared from Facebook along with the rest of Phuc Dat Bich's account today, is believed by many to have been Photoshopped (though, as the BBC notes, "physically altering a valid passport would be illegal.")
Screenshots taken of the post when it was live, however, show that many commenters were supportive of the man in his fight against Facebook's real name policy, which has proven contentious many times over since it came into effect last year.
Phuc Dat Bich's story was being shared so widely that it was trending on Twitter in the U.S. at one point. Then it started making its way into actual news lineups at outlets like the Sydney Morning Herald, Metro, New York Magazine, and some FOX affiliates.
The BBC even ran a piece on how to pronounce the name (which could come across as profane to some English speakers) using proper Vietnamese intonation to make it sound like "Phoo Da Bi".
Suspicions started being raised as repeated requests from journalists for interviews with the man were denied or went ignored.
A damning analysis of the man's claims by EFTM journalist Trevor Long and a yearbook photo that Mashable Australia had received from one of his alleged high school classmates appear to have been the last straws for Phuc Dat Bich.
Shortly after Mashable published the yearbook photo, which was captioned Thien Nguyen, the real story came out.
"Facebook needs to understand that it is utterly impossible to legitimise a place where there will always be pranksters and tricksters," the man wrote Wednesday in a post signed "Joe Carr" (which many believe to be a play on the word joker.)
He went on to criticize media outlets who'd reported on his story, suggesting that "hungry journalists" twist and "mask the truth" while commending himself for bringing levity to the world in a time of need.
In an interview with The Guardian today, the man said his real name was Tin Le but would not provide any type of verification.
"You'll just have to have faith and run with what you have," he said to the British newspaper. "I'm too tired with it all. Call me Mr. T."