Anas Modamani Merkel Selfie Facebook

How a Selfie with Merkel Led to Fake News and Ruined Life of Refugee

By Stephen Fuchs on Email @StephenWFuchs

After fleeing his home in Syria, Anas Modamani, now 19, fled with thousands of others with the hope of beginning a brighter future in Germany. As he situated himself in one of the many shelters opened around the country, Modamani rushed to the opportunity to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel as she visited the site that became his new home. After waiting for hours, he finally had the opportunity to meet her and did what any modern teenager would do — take a selfie. Little did he know, this harmless photo posted to social media would soon become his worst nightmare.

“I want peace in my life”

Not long after, Modamani’s photo became the source for a slew of fake news stories that would link him to various terrorist attacks across Europe, including the December attack at the Berlin Christmas Market. Some outlets altered the image, placing him at scenes or in situations that were obviously fake. Now he has placed himself in a legal battle with Facebook, who he claims is only helping to spread these false and personally damaging stories around the internet.

After a grueling day in court, Modamani told reporters, “I want peace in my life. Many people hate me, but all I did was take a selfie with Ms. Merkel.”

The results of the hearing are expected on March 7, but Volkmar Seipel made note that the court may find itself in the position where it cannot provide a clear answer in a case on one’s personal digital rights, seeing as current laws have not adequately kept up with the times.

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Sources: NYTimes

Photo: Anas Modamani

Stephen Fuchs
Stephen founded German Pulse and LGBT Germany out of a passion to introduce Americans to a Germany that goes beyond beer and polka (although with enough beer he has been known to polka it up a bit). He's a coffee addict, lover of wine and good times, a hit in the kitchen and editor of TV commercials. You can follow him on Twitter (@StephenWFuchs) to find out a lot more.
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