Message circulating on Facebook warns people to watch out for for a man named Thierry Mairot because he is attempting to contact children on Facebook to talk about sex.
This rumour is totally unsubstantiated and almost certainly untrue. There is no evidence whatsoever to support the claims in the message. Spreading scurrilous and unfounded rumours such as this can unfairly damage the reputation of innocent people. This bogus warning is without merit and should not be reposted.
URGENT URGENT ……… To all the parents whose children have a profile on facebook! There is a man who tries to make contact with the children to talk about sex. His name is Thierry Mairot. please, copy and paste on your wall! Thank you for protecting your children! PLEASE share as an emergency. He poses as Justin Bieber! His profile appears as Justin Bieber! PLEASE share NFSE.
ATTENTION…To all parents whose children have a profile on facebook. There is a man trying to get in contact with children to talk about sex. His name is Thierry Mairot. Please copy and paste this onto your wall and warn all ur friends! Please everyone Moms and Dads …repost an…d get him off of Facebook! Parents, Grandparents Aunts, Uncles and Cousins! EVEN if you have NO kids
Several versions of a message that supposedly warns parents and guardians about a pervert operating on Facebook are currently circulating. The messages, which circulate mainly via Facebook itself, warn that a Facebook user named Thierry Mairot is attempting to contact children to talk about sex. The message first began circulating in French. At least three English versions are now circulating as well.
However, there is no credible evidence of any kind that confirms the claims in these warning messages. The warning appears to be nothing more than an unfounded rumour. Spreading scurrilous rumours such as this without any evidence whatsoever that the claims in the “warning” are true is simply wrong. Such stories can have a very damaging, long term impact on a person’s life. At least one report suggests that one innocent person with the name Thierry Mairot has already had his life devastated by this rumour.
With so many millions of people now using the Internet, it is very likely that most users will share the same or quite similar first and last names with at least one and probably several other users. Thus, even if one of these unsubstantiated accusations was true, their continued circulation could certainly impact on completely innocent and unrelated individuals that are unlucky enough to share a name with the accused.
The old adage “there is no smoke without fire” does not apply to the vast, haphazard and uncontrolled world of the Internet in which a cowardly accuser can remain anonymous and may never be required to justify his or her accusations in any way. If malicious individuals want to discredit, embarrass or annoy someone, or indeed destroy his or her reputation, all they may need do is create a damaging rumour and launch it into cyberspace. And Facebook is just about the perfect vector for such maleficent scuttlebutt.
Moreover, an accusation of paedophilia or perversion is a potent weapon indeed. Quite naturally, even a hint of such evils is often enough to raise great ire and concern among parents and others who care for children. Of course, it is vitally important that we take all possible steps to keep our children safe. However, it is also vitally important that we do not inadvertently spread false and destructive accusations about someone in our efforts to protect our children.
Once launched, rumours like this can take on a life of their own. Even if the original accuser belatedly learns that his or accusations were wrong, it may well be impossible to stop the further spread of the rumour as it continues its destructive journey. Thus, sending on an unsubstantiated accusation like the one that names Thierry Mairot without first finding out if the accusation has at least some validity is irresponsible.
With regard to Facebook, perhaps the best course of action if you encounter someone posting inappropriate content is to use the site’s “report” function. Facebook <bwill remove users who are attempting to contact children inappropriately. Think twice before you formulate and launch a message warning other users about the person’s alleged actions. Keep in mind that the warning may spread much more rapidly and much more widely than you intended. And it may have a detrimental and unintended impact on innocent people that share the same name as the accused. If the actions of the accused individual results in legal action or arrest, the spread of rumours may be detrimental to the case either for or against. And remember that in a democratic and just society, people should be considered innocent until proved guilty. Trial by Facebook is a long way short of justice.
As for keeping children safe on Facebook, it could be convincingly argued that parents and guardians would be much better to take concrete steps to actively and continually monitor and control their children’s usage rather than pass on absurd paedophile rumours.
Given that there is not a shred of evidence that a person named Thierry Mairot has done anything wrong whatsoever, please help to quell this terrible and destructive rumour. It has the potential to ruin this person’s life – if it has not already done so.