U. of Edinburgh to Investigate Student Involved in ‘Gay Girl in Damascus’ Blog Hoax

The University of Edinburgh will investigate a male student from the United States who drew worldwide attention for pretending to be a lesbian blogger in Syria, a university spokesman said Monday.

The Edinburgh master’s student, Tom MacMaster, confessed on Sunday to being the author of “A Gay Girl in Damascus,” a blog that gained notice for its depictions of the Syrian government’s crackdown on protesters.

Mr. MacMaster blogged under the pseudonym Amina Arraf. His site became a sensation after someone purporting to be a relative of Arraf wrote a post saying that government security agents had hauled away the blogger, prompting the U.S. State Department to start an investigation. In response, Mr. MacMaster acknowledged the hoax and apologized.

“While the narrative voice may have been fictional, the facts on this blog are true and not mısleading as to the situation on the ground,” he wrote. “I do not believe that I have harmed anyone—I feel that I have created an important voice for issues that I feel strongly about.”

The University of Edinburgh released a statement on Monday saying it will investigate “whether the student has breached university computing regulations.” In the meantime, Mr. MacMaster’s computing privileges will be suspended, the university said.

What do you think of Mr. MacMaster’s cyber-activism? Leave your opinion in the comments below.

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