The hunt for #lilianekhalil
The hunt for #lilianekhalilBlogger Liliane Khalil claims to be an online journalist, but some say they've exposed her as another online hoax.
Is it another Gay Girl in Damascus? Blogger Marc Owen Jones thinks so. He and other Twitter users have launched an investigation into a woman claiming to be an online journalist named Liliane Khalil that they thought sounded a bit fishy.
Liliane Khalil describes herself as an Atlanta-based journalist of Palestinian and Armenian heritage who has written for a variety of different online publications including Cairo-based Bikya Masr and the Bahrain Independent. She is a regular Twitter user, with over 3000 followers and a lot to say about events in the Arab world. In her work as a journalist she talked about flying to various far-flung destinations and claimed to have scored a number of prominent interviews – including with Mohamed El Baradei.
After a few suspicious incidents, some online began to investigate Khalil's background. Blogger Marc Owen Jones documented the investigation on his blog. None of Khalil's prominent interviews were available online. A Turkish online news organisation denied association with her and the three articles she'd claimed to have written for them turned out to be copied word-for-word from Reuters. Khalil's picture on Twitter turned out to be the same as one on a LinkedIn profile of a woman named Gisele Cohen.
Jones and the other Twitter investigators eventually turned up not just Gisele Cohen, but at least four other identities associated with Khalil, represented by over a half dozen Twitter accounts. The accounts share profiles pictures and have posted some of the same photos over time. Jones' blog ends with a section entitled "So just who is Liliane Khalil?" So far, no definitive answer has been reached and the investigation continues online with the Twitter hashtag #lilianekhalil.
Liliane Khalil herself responded via Twitter: "I will respond to Marc Jones either this week or next. Please respect that I am in hospital and on a phys therapy schedule."
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