Skip to main content

Boy who was reported missing only existed on Facebook

courts could use social media exploits as evidence facebook screen
Image used with permission by copyright holder

A search for a missing boy in the French town of Moulins took a bizarre turn when it was discovered he didn’t actually exist outside of Facebook. Two year-old Chayson Basinio was reported as missing from a supermarket in the town, and police opened a kidnapping investigation as well as dredging a nearby lake. After several days of searching, it was discovered that both the boy and his separated parents were fabrications created on Facebook.

“The inquiry for kidnapping and sequestration has obviously been redirected into one of reporting an imaginary crime or offence,” said public prosecutor Eric Mazaud, as the Guardian reports. “[The inquiry] was long and complicated but we can now say that the young Chayson has never existed and nor have his father or mother.”

The woman who reported the missing child and claimed to be his great-aunt is now in police custody after the authorities noticed a growing number of inconsistencies in her story. If found guilty of inventing a crime, she could face up to six months in prison and a fine of €7,500 (around $10,360). The woman’s daughter and a cousin are also being questioned by police, who believe they helped set up the bogus accounts with pictures stolen from elsewhere on the social network. The fake profiles were created several months ago.

At this stage the motive behind the deception is unclear, though Eric Mazaud suggested either psychological problems or revenge could be behind it. “Sadly, this is a very modern-day story,” he said. “Someone decided to create false Facebook accounts and took pictures from real accounts to feed the false accounts and make these people seem real.”

Editors' Recommendations

David Nield
Dave is a freelance journalist from Manchester in the north-west of England. He's been writing about technology since the…
Trump allowed to return to Facebook and Instagram
Trump stylized image

Meta is ending its suspension of Donald Trump on Facebook and Instagram, allowing the former president to start posting again as he eyes a return to the White House via the 2024 election.

Trump was suspended indefinitely from the social media sites shortly after the riots at the Capitol in January 2021.

Read more
Reels are about to show up in yet another Facebook feature
A smartphone with the Facebook app icon on it all on a white marble background.

As its answer to TikTok, Reels is clearly a particularly important priority for Meta. Which is why a number of its platforms' recent feature updates often involve Reels. And today's announcement was not exempt from Meta's push to make Reels just as competitive as TikTok.

On Thursday, Meta announced that it would be bringing Reels to Facebook Groups, mentioning it as one of three new ways for users to "to connect over shared interests." Facebook group members and admins will be able to add "audio, text overlay and filters on top of their videos before sharing to bring their stories to life."

Read more
What is a Facebook Pixel? Meta’s tracking tool, explained
A silhouetted person holds a smartphone displaying the Facebook logo. They are standing in front of a sign showing the Meta logo.

If you have a website for your business and you're wondering how well your ads are reaching prospective customers, you'll probably want to be able to measure that to make sure that the money you've spent on advertising for your business is money well spent. Meta (the parent company of social media platforms Facebook and Instagram) offers a tool that can measure that by capturing how your customers interact with your business' website.

At one point, this tool was known as a Facebook Pixel. But since the technology company's recent rebranding to Meta, the tool also underwent a name change and is now known as the Meta Pixel.

Read more