The victim was called a ‘porky pig’ by the person behind the suspected fake profile.
Johannesburg – A Cape Town family whose picture was used in a suspected fake profile by a ‘Ryan Gerber’ has spoken out against having their picture plastered across media and social media.
The Facebook profile of ‘Ryan Gerber’ used the picture of the Riley family and spewed Islamophobic sentiments towards a potential customer on the Facebook Marketplace.
The incident was exposed by a screenshot, purportedly from the victim, who was called a ‘porky pig’ by the person behind the suspected fake ‘Ryan Gerber’ account.
A potential customer on Facebook Marketplace had been inquiring about a Playstation console when the ‘Ryan Gerber’ responded:
“Ask Allah… you porky pig… I hate Muslims,” the suspected fake account said in three consecutive messages.
Speaking to Independent Media on Thursday, Tristan Riley said he had no idea who ‘Ryan Gerber’ was, but said the pictures had been stolen from his wife’s Facebook profile.
“I have no idea who this person is, either than that he has published my wife’s pictures with myself and our sons. This can’t be right and that is exactly why I am asking for an apology,” he said.
Asked if he had any idea who ‘Ryan Gerber’ could be, he replied in the negative.
“No, I don’t even think Ryan is real, the entire thing is fake,” he said.
Riley said he had been in talks with financial services group Investec, the company ‘Ryan Gerber’ claimed to work for as a private banker on the suspected fake Facebook profile.
“I have been in talk with Investec and they have offered us support, but I don’t know what kind of support that is, but they are spending time trying to find this character,” he said.
Riley said he had also spoken to the victim who had received the hateful messages from the suspected fake profile and he agreed to remove his Facebook post after he messaged him privately, but by then, the post had already garnered hundreds of comments and multiple shares on Facebook.
“I sent Mohammed direct messages to remove the post and he did remove it. I think for now, the story has died, it has died without anyone acknowledging they are in the wrong as an innocent family aggrieved.
“Me as an individual because I can’t even complain to facebook, because you can’t really get ahold of anyone there,” he said.
Riley said he was fearful that he or his wife could be recognised and be confronted by people who thought they were behind the ‘Ryan Gerber’ account.
“It’s not great, because one never knows, because some guy may recognise the picture and that is why I need the apology and I need the picture to be never attached to the story again, because it is now known it is complete nonsense. Investec is not being defamed here, I am and my family has been, we could be attacked by this nonsense,” he said.
Independent Media unreservedly apologises to the Riley family for the publication of their picture in the articleInvestec probing ‘Ryan Gerber’ Islamophobic Facebook messages.