Sadly, I've not been around this space for a while because we recently had an issue of stolen identity. A Twitter user in the UK randomly stole a photo from our About Us section and used it as his own, claiming to be a husband and loving father of 2 (as only the boys were pictured) which means he was posing as Ben. Hiding behind our photo he attacked people verbally and brought attacks on our likenesses. Many people lashed out at him, identifying him through our photo and saying really terrible things about us in response.
I was first notified of this impersonation through emails. I received 4 emails from different twitter users claiming that my photo had been stolen. They seemed a bit "spammy" in nature, especially because I didn't recognize any of the people contacting me. Instead of clicking on any links in the emails I googled the username they were claiming had stolen our photo and was shocked at the snippets of tweets I saw from him and the replies of those he angered. Thankfully his account was taken down before I ever knew it existed. I am grateful to those of you who reported this user which I can only assume led to twitter removing him.
Those who had emailed me had somehow tracked the photo back to my blog and quickly realized that we were not the ones behind the tweets this user was sending out. I was able to send tweets out to several users letting them know that the photo did not belong to this user, but the damage had been done. It just makes me sick that my husband and especially our sons were victims of these angry social media users' rants. We feel rather violated by the whole incident. I don't really want to blog or say much on twitter. I've made my instagram account private so that I have to approve followers from here on out, and I haven't posted anything to my Breaking New Ground Facebook page. I already watermark all my photos, but that didn't stop this person from using one anyhow.
I'm trying not to let one person "ruin the internet for me" as Ben put it, but it's hard to not want to hunker down and protect my family from having anything like this happen again. I enjoy blogging for the community it has brought me to but it feels lost or broken somehow. So I'm taking some time to think and pray about what to do next. I may take my blog down and use it for my own records, or possibly make it private, open only to approved or invited users. It's also possible that I will keep things the same after some time away.
I could use some encouragement so feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions on the matter in the comment section here.
Thanks to those of you who read here and have supported us over the years!