On Monday night, I discovered through a friend and a Twitter follower that I have been the victim of what seems to be politically-motivated identity theft over at Reddit for the past few days.
Upon investigation, I saw that the identity thief and poser used my name “tonyocruz” as a username and pretended to be me. I was supposedly: social media director of a presidential candidate, was using my column in the Manila Bulletin for it, and that I was recruiting people for the campaign. The cowardly poser also misportrayed the #bigashindibala online furor was made possible only by bots.
The posts and comments by the identity thief and poser appear to have started over the weekend, when my Manila Bulletin column titled “Dear Mr. Mar Roxas” came out. That column did not mince words about the administration’s presidential candidate and has so far been shared nearly 5,000 times on Facebook. I strongly suspect that this case of identity theft is one of the dirty tricks of the Aquino-Roxas Yellow Army. Their leaders have always showed displeasure and intolerance over all kinds of criticism.
I assure my friends and everyone that none of the trash that was attributed to me is true. The poser’s posts and comments reveal a clumsy manner of writing, contrived reasoning, and a mindset that aimed to foment intrigue. The claims, posts and comments aren’t just not mine. They are totally untrue. The apparent objective was to discredit me by distorting and misrepresenting my anti-administration views. (Frankly, I have not decided who to vote for for president. It would have been obvious if I already have a choice. As of today, I am sure to vote for Makabayan’s Neri Colmenares who is running for the Senate and I am not even part of his campaign, TBH.)
I will be speaking with my lawyers about this. If you’re active on Reddit (because obviously I’m not), and would know how to fix this problem, please contact me.
Meantime, to set the record straight and start correcting the distortions, I have emailed Reddit the following letter to ask for assistance:
I am Tonyo Cruz, a blogger from the Philippines and a columnist at the Manila Bulletin. You may find my blog at tonyocruz.com, my Twitter account at http://twitter.com/tonyocruz and my newspaper columns at http://mb.com.ph/author/tonyo-cruz
I am writing to report a case of identity theft. The identity thief registered the username tonyocruz and started to write posts as if the said user were me. I knew about this tonight, after friends alerted me.
The identity thief’s user profile and posts are here:
This identity thief who misused the username tonyocruz is not me. I categorically deny making all those posts and comments that are now being attributed to me, which include references to my column. I am not the social media director of any presidential candidate. I am not employed by or a volunteer to any presidential campaign, in whatever capacity.
The identity thief apparently registered and started posting when the Manila Bulletin published my column last weekend titled “Dear Mr. Mar Roxas”, referring to the candidate of the administration.
I respectfully request your help to correct this based on reddit rules, including the immediate suspension of the said account, and to hiding/deletion of the posts and comments made by the same. I am of course willing to cooperate in any investigation.
This case of identity theft is already causing damage to my integrity as a blogger, columnist and as a citizen among those who have read the identity thief’s posts and comments.
Thank you and looking forward to a quick response.
UPDATE: As of 3:30 am, April 19, Reddit has suspended the account “tonyocruz” made by the identity thief/poser:
SECOND UPDATE: The Duterte campaign’s spokesman has released a statement about the incident: