Mystery of Russian Fake on Facebook Solved, by a Brazilian

Mystery of Russian Fake on Facebook Solved, by a Brazilian
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The Times article noted that one of the Redick photos showed him sitting in a bar in Brazil. In another, a bedroom seemed to have a Brazilian-style electrical outlet. Globo.com, the online news operation of Brazil’s biggest media conglomerate, noticed the puzzle and crowdsourced it, asking readers for help.

On Saturday, the site reproduced images The Times had taken from the Facebook page, including pictures of the man and his daughter. “Do you know these people?” the headline said.

A reader spotted the photos and recognized her son-in-law, Charles David Costacurta, 36, of the city Jundiaí in southeastern Brazil. Mr. Costacurta was suspicious at first, said Carlos Dias, a Globo reporter, but eventually agreed to meet at a television station.

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The photos, Mr. Costacurta told the site, were 2014 shots of himself and his daughter, then 3, now 6, that he had posted on Facebook. He was particularly disturbed that the images had been stolen, he told Globo, because he used the privacy settings on Facebook to limit access to his profile.

“I was scared, and I asked my girlfriend to take a look because I do not understand much about social networks and the internet,” Mr. Costacurta said.

Before publishing the photos, The Times tried to find their source using Google’s image search function, but nothing turned up. This suggested that they might belong to a Brazilian Facebook user, because Facebook blocks image searches of its profiles. The company declined to say whether it had searched internally and found the photos before Mr. Costacurta came forward.

For Mr. Costacurta, his cameo role in Russia’s information war appeared to be a harsh lesson in the fragile nature of privacy in an age of social media.

“We’re totally vulnerable,” he told Globo. “You wonder how much security you have, right?”



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