Cops and bloggers

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News broke this morning that revealed the true identity of the writer behind the ‘Gay Girl in Damascus’ blog, which has attracted a huge following in recent months.

The blog was set up in February this year and claimed to explain ‘what it’s like to be a lesbian’ in Syria. It now turns out it’s actually the work of Tom MacMaster – a mature student at Edinburgh University.

The revelation that Amina Abdallah Arraf al Omari – the supposed author of the blog – doesn’t actually exist has sparked an outcry amongst many gay rights activists. Some in the Syrian gay community say that MacMaster’s blog has ‘risked their safety and seriously harmed their cause’.

Despite trying to highlight the plight that homosexuals face in Syria, Tom MacMaster has been accused of bringing others into harm’s way.

For many people around the globe, the internet provides a connection with the outside world that we might not otherwise have. For some, it presents a platform for their voices to be heard through blogging and other social media tools. However, this situation also highlights that there’s still no one out there policing cyber space to authenticate information that’s available at the click of a button.

While MacMaster is adamant that his actions ‘have not harmed anyone’, I believe he should have pursued his mission to highlight this controversial issue honestly and as himself. Instead, he’s exploited the trust of many people and used the internet’s loopholes of authenticity for his own ‘greater good’.