Find it difficult to tell when something on the internet is a joke? Maybe don’t fly into an abusive rage.
17-year-old Shelley Floryd from Stockholm has been penning Facebook posts claiming “Australia is not real” and man, have they gone viral.
“It’s a hoax, made for us to believe that Britain moved over their criminals to someplace,” she wrote in her original post on Tuesday. “All things you call ‘proof’ are actually well fabricated lies and documents made by the leading governments of the world.
“Your Australian friends? They’re all actors and computer generated personas, part of the plot to trick the world.” It’s so obviously a joke, but it was definitely detailed enough to make a bunch of particularly patriotic Australians think that someone actually believes this.
There’s more than 40,000 comments on the first post, many of them abusive.
“If im a paid actor then I want 33yrs of back pay and a god dam trailer dressing room with a star on the door and my name in that star!!” wrote one heated-up Aussie.
Floryd is merely bemused by the fuss, the “complete joke” has received, saying it was inspired by an Australian friend of hers, Sam, when they had a disagreement about ’80s indie band The Smiths.
“We were talking on the phone when he told me he hated the Smiths, and I thought — no one can hate the Smiths — hence Australia doesn’t exist. So I wrote that post out later that evening as a joke to my friends, and then it blew out of proportion — I wasn’t expecting more than maybe a few shares.”
Floryd said she’s had her Facebook posts go viral before, but not to this scale. And certainly not to the extent in which people have taken it seriously.
“Most of the messages and reactions I’ve gotten have been negative. I’ve had thousands of people tell me I’m a c*nt, idiot, r*tard, waste of space and so on. I’ve read maybe a hundred death threats, and maybe a thousand more have told me they’re going to beat me up,” she said.
Despite this, the teenager hasn’t taken her post down, and has also made subsequent posts referencing her “Australia isn’t real” trope.
“I haven’t put the posts to private because it’s actually quite funny to see it have such a strong reaction, and even if I did people have still shared it around and screenshotted it. It’s on the net forever,” she said.