The viral story of Keaton Jones: Cautionary tale on Internet fame and crowdfunding – National


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The viral story of Keaton Jones started when his mom posted a video to social media, displaying a tearful 11-year-old addressing the bullies who referred to as him ugly and poured milk on his head.

“What’s the purpose of it? Why do you discover pleasure in taking harmless folks and discovering a technique to be imply them?” Jones asks, choking again tears. “Individuals which might be totally different don’t must be criticized about it.”

The video was seen greater than 22-million instances on Kimberly Jones’s, Keaton’s mom, private Fb web page with celebrities like Justin Bieber, Mark Ruffalo, Katy Perry, Chris Evans, and LeBron James amongst others providing help for Keaton, with Evans even inviting Keaton to attend subsequent yr’s Avengers sequel.

WATCH: Tennessee boy’s tearful video about bullying goes viral, prompts outpouring of help

However simply because the story unfold like wildfire throughout the Web, so too did the backlash after social media posts confirmed the Tennessee household showing to pose with Accomplice flags. One other weird twist to the story got here after reviews indicated Keaton’s estranged father is a white supremacist at the moment in jail.

Jones confirmed to ABC Information the pictures of the household had been actual however the household is just not racist.

“I really feel like anyone who desires to take the time to ask anyone who I’m and even troll by means of another footage, I imply, I really feel like we’re not racist,” Jones stated. “I imply, those that know us, know us.”

“[The photo] was meant to be ironic and humorous and excessive,” she added. “I’m genuinely, actually sorry. If I may take it again I’d.”

READ MORE: Bullied child’s mother responds to backlash after viral video, says she’s not racist

Because the viral story started to unfold, scammers and different fraudsters tried to capitalize on Jones’ meteoric rise to fame, with a fraudulent Instagram account trying to solicit PayPal donations and several other crowdfunding pages popping up.

Almost a 1,000 miles away from Tennessee, a father in New Jersey touched by the video created a GoFundMe marketing campaign that reached almost US$58,000.

“I made a decision to do that GoFundMe to assist with this youngster’s future. I do know that cash might not be the reply for this drawback that we face in our communities with bullying,” Joseph Lam stated in his unique put up.

International Information reached out to Lam for an interview however didn’t obtain a response.

Questions on crowdfunding

Early final week, Lam paused the donations amid questions on Keaton’s story and his mom. The marketing campaign really fell to simply below $55,000 after folks started asking for refunds.

The Jones story is a cautionary story about sudden social media fame and questions in regards to the accountability of crowdfunding.

Toronto charity tax lawyer Mark Blumberg stated crowdfunding websites typically face challenges of accountability as cash will be raised for anybody or something.

“In lots of instances, there is no such thing as a due diligence actually on the venture or what’s being funded,” Blumberg stated. “You will have not one of the regular safeguards with crowdfunding that you’d have with a registered charity.”

“If there may be [a] drawback, what regulator do you go to?”

READ MORE: Detecting terrorism financing in crowdfunds poses ‘important problem’

Crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter, GoFundMe and Indiegogo elevate billions of every year. GoFundMe alone raised roughly $5 billion from its crowdfunding campaigns in 2017.

Whereas precise statistics on how widespread fraud amongst crowdfunding websites are laborious to return by, there may be report after report after report of it occurring. Police in Hamilton, Ont., launched a fraud investigation earlier this month into an unauthorized GoFundMe account elevating cash for funeral bills for a homicide sufferer Yosif Al-Hasnawi.

“In my expertise in Canada, prosecutors don’t appear that within the problem of charity fraud and folks doing issues which might be extremely nefarious because it pertains to charities,” Blumberg stated. “They’ve kind of deserted the sector, it seems.”

READ MORE: Ontario lady charged after ‘fabricated sickness’ marketing campaign nets greater than $125,000

A spokesperson for GoFundMe stated the group makes use of “a number of layers of safety” to make sure the protection and safety of all donors and marketing campaign organizers.

“We deploy proprietary fraud prevention technical instruments and have a number of processes to confirm the identification of marketing campaign organizers,” stated Rachel Hollis in an electronic mail.

“We now have a group of 50 million customers — once they see one thing they assume won’t be proper, they inform us, and our staff appears to be like into it. If a marketing campaign receives a criticism, the funds can’t be withdrawn till the problem is resolved.”

Listed here are 5 recommendations on how you can keep away from fraudulent crowdfunding:

  1. Keep away from pages with minimal info. Search for pages that record who’s elevating cash, who the funds are for, the connection to the individual receiving the funds, and the way the funds can be spent.
  2. Contact the one who created the marketing campaign instantly. Crowdfunding websites typically make it straightforward to electronic mail the customers who’ve created a marketing campaign.
  3. At all times carry out a reverse picture search with Google. Some fraudsters will steal a photograph of a kid or canine in must elicit sympathy for his or her marketing campaign. Proper-click the principle photograph on the GoFundMe web page and choose “Search Google for picture.” Numerous comparable outcomes may imply the marketing campaign is faux.
  4. Test the social media accounts of crowdfund campaigners. Social media accounts which might be created across the similar time because the crowdfunding marketing campaign or have restricted engagement will be warning indicators.
  5. Search for updates from contributors. The extra engagement, like updates or “thanks” notes, are a superb signal.

READ MORE: Learn how to keep away from scammers making an attempt to money in on the B.C. wildfires

“If it’s somebody that and also you’re very aware of the folks engaged and concerned with it, then I feel crowdfunding could make good sense,” Blumberg stated. “Whether it is one thing extra broad the place you want a better stage of accountability … then folks ought to assume when it comes to a registered charity.”

In the meantime, Lam has stated he’s nonetheless hoping “one thing good” will be completed with the cash raised for Keaton. He has prompt $25,000 may go in direction of a school fund for Keaton, whereas the cash is also donated to 2 different households who misplaced their kids to suicide following incidents of bullying.

© 2017 International Information, a division of Corus Leisure Inc.

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