Written by: Youeal Abera, Staff Writer
The online world is deeply unsafe, and it’s important to be skeptical of what you read on social media. After all, the Internet is filled with liars, scammers, and catfishers. However, depending on who the circumstances and victims are, this isn’t necessarily a horrible thing.
This past week on Twitter, a young African-American woman named Quran has created one of these example of this by tricking a number of Trump supporters into giving her a huge amount of money before refunding it.
On October 27, Quran tweeted an image of herself wearing a Make America Great Again hat with the caption, “I will not hide any longer, the left has made us feel as if us black republicans should hide!! but not anymore!! #BlacksForTrump #WalkAway #MAGA”. Four days later, she made a follow-up tweet claiming her parents had kicked her out and stopped giving her money, and requested donations through a GoFundMe page to help her with tuition.
However, Quran wasn’t really kicked out of her parents’ home. As a matter of fact, she isn’t even a Republican.
She later put out a video explaining what she’d done and tweeted about her actual opinions on Trump and the US Republican Party. She claims to have only made around $200 through it, but she managed to get quite a lot of attention. Afterward, she refunded the money she had made through the page, saying in an interview with New York Magazine, “I just felt really weird about taking their money. This could go south really fast, I just decided to refund everyone and give their money back,” which she did.
Admittedly, I find it both humorous and impressive that Quran has managed to pander to these Republicans on Twitter simply by pretending to be just like them. Nevertheless, upon thinking about her actions, I realized that it’s important to ask if what she’s done is anything different from the countless other deceptions of online scammers.
The difference here is that she did this to make a fool out of an extreme and disrespectful political group. She didn’t aim to make a living out of this deception, just some laughter at the expense of people on social media.
However, even if Quran did keep the money to go on a shopping spree or if she decided to splurge at a fancy restaurant, I don’t think this would be that bad given how she deceived them in the first place. Quran could have easily published a disgusting and immoral story that fabricated the status of her health or the death of her loved ones, but she simply asked for help with her college fees (something she really did need help paying for). The lie she chose to tell in this venture is not significant enough to me to feel malicious.
Outside of those she deceived, though, her Twitter antics can also be appreciated for how they exemplify how truly easy it has become to make a quick dollar on the Internet.
Long gone are the times where we would receive emails from “Nigerian Princes” asking us to donate money so they could save their kingdoms from distress. Especially as a result of fundraising sites like Gofundme, it has become so incredibly easy for social media users to ask for money without sufficient oversight to prevent people from lying to get it. By not taking the money, Quran has managed to teach a relatively harmless (though vivid) lesson in how much trust we can give to people online.
Say what you want about Quran, but you can’t question her intelligence or creativity with this act. As college students, I think we can all appreciate this.