The story of a woman who blogged about the pregnancy and birth of her terminally ill baby, later for it to be discovered that the whole story was a fabrication, broke last week in the Chicago Tribune.
A naturally emotive subject, it attracted a huge number of visitors who sent messages and gifts to the woman who identified herself as either “B” or “April’s Mom”.
Her blog was linked to by high-profile parenting blogs and, apparently, advertisers were also looking at getting involved on the site.
The baby was actually a lifelike doll, which immediately raised the suspicion of loyal blog-followers.
“I have that exact doll in my house,” said Elizabeth Russell, a dollmaker from Buffalo who had been following the blog. “As soon as I saw that picture, I knew it was a scam.”
Exposed Beccah Beushausen (more proof that anonymous blogging is near-impossible) said that she’s really “sorry because people were so emotionally involved” but that she did really lose a child soon after birth in 2005 and the blog was meant to help her deal with her loss.
The vigilante attitude prevalent on the web meant that public outcry was inevitable when Beushausen was exposed, though it’s likely that – in the law’s eyes at least – she did nothing wrong.
Perhaps it would have been more prudent, if she was really doing it to help deal with the emotions of a previous loss, to do so in private.
It serves as a stark reminder, which many of us need from time to time, that not everything on the Internet is fact. It’s easy to become emotionally attached to the stories of individuals online. Sometimes they really are just stories.