Tracing the Disinformation Behind Cal Coast News’ Karen Velie’s Lies
It started on the evening of October 3.
Out of the blue, people I didn’t know were reaching out to me on Facebook Messenger, expressing concern for my safety. My phone was buzzing with notifications from people I never knew, people I never met, tagging me in seemingly random conversations taking place on a local news media’s Facebook page. I assured them I was fine, everything was quiet — well, actually peaceful — on my end.
So what’s going on?
Apparently, an argument erupted between several Facebook users who live in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara County, with one user randomly accused someone else in the heated conversation of being me. Huh? How was my name randomly dragged into this argument on the Internet among strangers? It was surreal to read comments from people who believed I was someone they were arguing with, sharing doctored photos of my face, going through my profile to mock my posts, tag some of my Facebook friends as if to say, “Are you seeing what your friend Aaron is up to?”
Instead of getting upset of being falsely accused of using a fake Facebook account to harass people, I decided to calmly do some digging.
Here’s what happened. I was accused of being some person whose only identifiable information on their Facebook profile was their hometown: San Luis Obispo. Several people accused this person of being a “troll.” One of the people who originally accused this troll account of being me revealed that he learned from another Facebook user that I “controlled” several fake accounts and Facebook pages as former District 3 Supervisor Adam Hill’s “troll.”
Cal Coast News articles about me were shared around social media based on the presumption that I operated a Facebook account under the pseudonym Kevin Turner. The various false allegations made about me from articles written by Karen Velie. But one of the people who believed I was this “Kevin” person was becoming skeptical. What if “Kevin” wasn’t actually Aaron Ochs? They decided to contact me through Facebook Messenger and ask.
Fortunately, the conversation I had with these people privately was honest and friendly. I was able to clear up misunderstandings. They, in turn, deleted any posts…