New Delhi: A photo of an elated man smiling in a selfie has been widely circulated on social media — majority of the times for emotional reasons. The mysterious smiling man was in the picture of the victims of the terrorist attack at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, and – here is the mystery – he was also among the victims of the EgyptAir crash in June. 

‘Dying’ in both Ataturk Airport attack and the EgyptAir crash, the man’s picture was also among the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting which claimed more than 40 lives. Shared widely on Twitter and Facebook, readers and friends expressed sorrow and hope for the kin of the victim.

After EgyptAir crash, Ataturk airport attack and Orlando mass shooting, the mysterious man’s picture was also circulated on Mexican websites where he was among the victims shot by Mexican police.

A deeper research into this strange social media phenomenon revealed that it was all a fixed ploy from one of the smiling man’s friend to “get him” for cheating on them for money. 

One of the friends told reporters, “This man used to be my friend but he’s cheated money out of me and at least four people who I know. I lodged both civil and criminal complaints against him, but because the legal proceedings are dragging on and he still hasn’t given us back our money, we decided to punish him by posting his photo online. Our goal is to ruin his reputation. We want the whole world to recognise his face.”

Finally, when the man was reached for comment on his picture being posted and shared all over the world, he said, “My photo is everywhere because of someone who started it as a prank after a legal dispute. I never reported the people who did this to me because, in Mexico, nothing ever happens in these kinds of cases.

Now, my photo has appeared in several stories that were widely shared on Twitter. I contacted several media outlets like the BBC and the New York Times and asked them to delete my photo but they never responded. “


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