On January 17th Deadspin broke a story that relieved that Manti Teo the star LB at Notre Dame, runner up in the Heisman, and first round NFL draft pick was either part of or victim of Catfishing. Teo hit the national news with his play but also his emotional story that tugged on the hearts of the nation. Teo’s grandmother died and then 12 hours his girl friend Lennay Marie Kekua died of leukemia. Teo talked about how he would spend all night on the phone with her while she was in the hospital and when she died, he told the media he could not attend her funeral as she made him promise to never miss a game. Teo carried this story with him the rest of the season and was huge among the media outlets; it was covered by sports illustrated, epsn, abc, and many other big media outlets. However, it was discovered that Lennay Kekua was nothing but an online profile created by someone else, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. Teo never met Lennay in person as he had said before but their relationship was developed completely through twitter and facebook. Ronaih had made a series of twitter accounts to tweet at Lennay to make her seem more real. He used pictures from a former high shcool classmate to create Lennay profile and make her seem real. This story has still continued to be a huge and there is new information revealed each day. Other victims of this same guy, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, have come forward and Teo just went on Katie Cuoric to explain his side of the story. Opinions have come from all over about whether Teo was involved for the publicity or whether he was a completely innocent kid who got taken advantage of.
Question to the class:
With social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook being used as forum for meeting people, how can society protect itself from these sort of scams? Is it up the to responsibility of the sites to request enough information to make sure someone is who they claim to be?