“I am Olivia” Suicide Scam Exposed

David Matterall 2016-10-22

The first casualty in EVE is trust. Scam artists infest EVE marketplaces, shadowy agents infiltrate corporations and alliances, and sometimes relationships shift and even trusted comrades go rogue. Recently, the EVE player community was confronted by a situation that went far beyond the game itself. News that a player had reached out for emotional support and was bullied by other players into a suicide attempt shocked the community and moved many to speak out in support of the individual and against the horrific behavior of the offenders.

This is one of the saddest things I’ve read in the 13 years of being a capsuleer 😡☹️😤 Please keep us updated on Olivia’s recovery and pass on the support of all the FB Eve peeps.   — commenter

An Imperium News team, led by Rhivre, set out to investigate the validity of the claims that have lead to the “I am Olivia” campaign. The allegations of cyber bullying and suicide are very serious and the team proceeded with sensitivity, caution, and due diligence during the investigation. Once our findings were complete, we felt we were in a position to present the facts with a high degree of confidence. In the interest of protecting the real identities of the parties mentioned in this article, we have chosen to use pseudonyms wherever possible.

The Olivia Proposition

On October 4th a story came to prominence of a young woman named Olivia, who was driven by toxic players to attempt suicide. They allegedly attacked her in private chats, making fun of her previous posts on Broadcast4Reps (B4R).

Note: B4R is a player-managed EVE support network for those suffering from mental illness, thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

As the story goes, Olivia was seeking help in B4R at some point. Later, two players she knew, whom we will refer to as “Thing One” and “Thing Two,” invited Olivia to a private convo and talked with her. Five more players from Manifesto, a hostile neighboring alliance, were invited into the chat channel. All seven players then proceeded to haze Olivia about her B4R posts. The event pushed Olivia to attempt to end her life, which reportedly left her unconscious and in hospital for several days.

The story originally went public on October 4, when an outraged man, who identified himself as a friend of Olivia’s, posted a comment on the EVE Online Public Group on Facebook. The story was later corroborated by an individual claiming to be Olivia’s sister, Annabelle Grace.

Further posts said she was still in hospital, but was recovering. Members of the Facebook group EVE Online (a public group run by fans of the game) were initially horrified, but over time they cheered as Olivia announced she was better. The story was picked up by The Neocom in an article called “Her Name is Olivia.” It grew into a movement against bullying helped by Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook.

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CCP Games, EVE Online’s developer, began investigating the incident. Manifesto leaders scrambled to find the culprits in their own alliance and vowed to cooperate with CCP, as did B4R organizers.

Support for Olivia in the form of ISK and admiration poured in. Donations were taken: the public API given by the person starting the drive indicates that around 10B ISK was directly given to him for this project. A citadel was proposed, and it spread to the forums with some even suggesting it should be unattackable. Eep, of IWANTISK, also offered to build a Keepstar.  Chribba was asked to hold donations but yesterday it was announced that the ISK collected would go directly to Olivia. Her corp was also starting a recruitment drive, to leverage the goodwill from players. As momentum grew, Olivia told followers she was feeling better and would be attending this year’s EVE Vegas. Moreover she was giving up the single life and looking for suitors, and also looking for potential meetups in Vegas.

Investigation

Imperium News was aware of the Olivia story but decided that it was a private matter and stayed away from it for weeks. Then a few days ago, Editor Rhivre was privately asked her opinion of the veracity of the Olivia story. Rhivre looked into it, and by simply searching Google for images of Olivia she was able to see that the picture being used for her belonged to an alternative social media account. Rhivre brought this fact to me and we opened an investigation with help from trusted researchers.

Everything about Olivia looked wrong. The Facebook accounts of both “Olivia” and “Annabelle Grace” were odd to begin with because they didn’t show pictures of the two together, or of each other. The accounts also lacked activity. All their posts had minimal Likes – far fewer than is typical for this demographic – and posts often went dormant. The real women, by contrast, had a full history of posts showered with comments and compliments, just as you would expect. One picture showed a real family and confirmed that the women used to construct Olivia and Annabelle were not from the same family.

After a feverish search through the internet and interviews with leaders from Manifesto(the alleged trollers), and Krab Republic alliances (Olivia’s alliance), the story of Olivia began to unravel.

Your name is NOT Olivia, and neither is hers

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Olivia was not harassed, never tried to kill herself, and in fact it does not seem as though she even exists. She is a construct made from the pictures of a healthy, happy, young woman who has nothing to do with EVE and nothing to do with Olivia.

On the day “Olivia” was supposedly sleeping in hospital, the actual woman in the photograph communicated by Twitter that she was eating peanut butter, listening to music, and described the shoes she was wearing (Vans).

anabelle_not_the_sister

The same is true for Olivia’s sister. She doesn’t exist either. The only person that we believe is real is the OP, the “friend”, who started the whole story on Facebook. All the other characters in this story were nothing more than creations of his that were used to “catfish.”  

A Catfish scam occurs when someone assumes a persona (or many) in order to trick another person into believing that they’re really that person online. Oftentimes a “Catfish” will go to extremes to continue their lie and typically use social networks, dating sites and all different types of online forums. They might display fake profile pictures, get a separate phone line and even create a complete online profile with “fake” friends to cover their tracks. — socialcatfish.com

After looking into it, we discovered that the OP has a history of creating fake people on Facebook and using them for various purposes. The catfish accounts have been around for years but had no presence in EVE. Olivia and Annabelle, as far as we can tell, don’t have characters in EVE. There are no logs of Olivia anywhere to be found, but they were talked about inside the game. We approached Olivia’s former alliance, Krab Republic. Their chief diplomat stated Olivia’s story was true, but he had never seen them online or talked to them in Teamspeak. All his information came from a single source, which turned out to be the OP. That has been the problem all along. The Olivia story grew because the OP was able to corroborate his own story using different personas, but no one checked the authenticity of the witnesses themselves. Essentially he used sock puppets to fool everyone who inquired about Olivia’s authenticity, and the fear of doubting an attempted suicide also likely deterred proper scrutiny. The idea that EVE players were capable of such behavior may have also contributed to a rush to judgement by the community. We’re not that bad are we? 

We were able to make contact in the public chat of Olivia’s corp, Storm Tribe. The CEO went idle when we arrived and never returned. A corp member – we assume to be an alt – suggested we put our requests in an email and stated that Olivia and her sister were indeed real and popular in the corp. Meanwhile Zamrikus, of Manifesto, turned his alliance upside down looking for the five harassers. He never received the logs that showed which of his members were the trolls.

A few hours ago, “Olivia” posted romantic musings about her future trip to EVE Vegas. She hopes to meet someone at Vegas, or more logically, extract more wealth and attention from EVE players that think they are helping a young beautiful woman, when in actuality they are talking to a corrupt man.

Conclusion

The good news is you don’t need to worry about Olivia, or her sister, because they are not real. Whatever image you bonded with is a real person, just not anyone who knows anything about EVE or who even exists in our space. The OP who concocted this myth has some answering to do for violating the trust of his fellow players in such an abhorrent manner. When things spun out of control, he should have found a quiet way out of the game. Instead, he has kept up the lies.

After several attempts to contact CCP on the matter through different people and mediums, we were able to share our concerns about the “Olivia” story’s authenticity with them. Although CCP was unable to provide us with any information, they did request that we provide them with any evidence in our possession, which we will be sending to them.

The Olivia fraud is a reminder that for some people, nothing is sacred nor outside the boundaries of fair play. It is extremely difficult to excuse the actions of those who erode public trust, the integrity of which is so tightly tied to assisting real people with real problems. Hopefully occurrences like the “Olivia” situation continue to be outliers. It is imperative to keep cynicism at bay so that when a real Olivia case appears, we don’t turn her away.

 

UPDATE: Imperium News has been in contact with the administrators of the Facebook page that was accepting donations on Olivia’s behalf. We can confirm that all ISK donations submitted through that page have been refunded. The administrators have also contacted Chribba to make sure that he knows to do the same.

In addition, Neocom has offered this tweet in corroboration of the story.

Imperium News would like to once again stress that there are no indications that the administrators of the FB Donation page, Chribba, or B4R, were at all involved in any of the less savory aspects of what has transpired. We thank them all for their continued dedication to openness and their ongoing support for the EVE community. 

 

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Comments

  • Caleb Ayrania

    Ceci n’est pas Olivia?

    October 22, 2016 at 2:38 am
  • SkepticNerdGuy

    For real?

    October 22, 2016 at 2:50 am
    • RoAnnon SkepticNerdGuy

      you sound skeptical

      October 22, 2016 at 3:10 am
      • SkepticNerdGuy RoAnnon

        tis in my nature

        October 22, 2016 at 3:23 am
  • Xenuria

    A wondrous Exposé of foul deeds.

    October 22, 2016 at 2:53 am
  • as much as anonymity on the internet helps in some aspects of modern life, its a double edged sword allowing cunts like that to be this morally bankrupt.

    FML

    October 22, 2016 at 2:55 am
  • DevilDude

    I am Olivia; or why I don’t give money to player run charities.

    October 22, 2016 at 2:56 am
  • Roberto FRESH

    This is just sick’ning

    October 22, 2016 at 3:05 am
  • SkepticNerdGuy

    Well, I kind of want to say this about the incident, what the fake persona “olivia” did is terrible. But I will say that you cannot fault the greater community that tried to do the right thing. They had the right intentions but fell victim to the hoax. I wasn’t following the whole story on facebook and other social media, I did watch Max Singularity’s video, which was authentic and brought on the feels. I emotionally in a way fell for it too. I wont fault those who were victim to the crime, they did the right thing. At least thought they were, and that is something I think shines a good light on the community. But unfortunately the facts will only hurt us and that same amazing community more.

    October 22, 2016 at 3:33 am
    • Dirk_MacGirk SkepticNerdGuy

      Totally agree. The community reacted as it should to stand up to that kind of behavior and support the individual. And in the future should do so again. Being on the wrong side of this one for the right reasons is far better than becoming jaded and numb and turning away the next time.

      October 22, 2016 at 3:58 am
  • Gla Frite

    I’m really happy to learn that you can find worse people outside Eve community than inside. So refreshing

    October 22, 2016 at 5:39 am
  • Borat Guereen

    The edge of the game may have been a *thing* in the first decade but has become a liability to the game and to the development of the community to a alrger audience.

    CCP has finally decided to react to the gambling issue, probably more because of external risks than anything. They should not wait for a real PR catastrophe from a scam that will cast Eve in a worst light that it is already in the gaming community.
    We do not need anymore the “edge” that free scamming and no-risks anonymous alts bring to the game. Is Eve a scamming simulation or an empire building, sci-fi experience?

    It is time for CCP to shed the toxic players that thrive in such environment. The grit of the game will not be removed because scamming others will be made harder or will have consequences, only the scammers wants you to believe this….

    October 22, 2016 at 6:23 am
  • Gla Frite

    CCP’s doing its part. For sure, they’ll never get things quick enough (considering they’ve been loosing $15-30k /month in lost Plexs sales with IWI and its customers alone), but the communauty has its part to do. Like it’s been done here. We are not talking about strangers behaviors, but so-called “fellow” pilots. People we’re supposed to gg (or not).

    For example, was Pandemic Horde this year’s biggest scam or something else ? Of course, the sponsored so-called “press” will never do its part on such questions ’cause, y’know, treeeeeellions…

    Saying, once for all, that quite a few Eve gameplays are definitely toxic, gangrenous & infectious can be done, especially to coming Alpha clones.

    October 22, 2016 at 9:23 am
    • Sidrat Flush Gla Frite

      “For example, was Pandemic Horde this year’s biggest scam or something else ? ”

      I think I’ve missed something related to Eve, please enlighten me.

      “Of course, the sponsored so-called “press” will never do its part on such questions ’cause, y’know, treeeeeellions…”

      All press outlets are sponsored by sponsors or advertisers, so I don’t know the point you’re making. Is it a lesser form of journalism because it’s about games and gamers? Because the staff are for the most part amateurs (as in not traditionally trained)?

      And finally “Saying, once for all, that quite a few Eve gameplays are definitely toxic, gangrenous & infectious can be done, especially to coming Alpha clones.”

      There are very very few things players can do to each other without any way of defending against it. Yes newer players lack the knowledge of what they should be protecting against, but that doesn’t make it as bad as your terms.

      Regarding Alpha clones, I don’t know what the limitations will be in regards to player interactivity as in ISK trading, contract limitations etc etc.

      October 22, 2016 at 1:22 pm
    • Setab Nairromede Gla Frite

      For example, was Pandemic Horde this year’s biggest scam or something else ?

      Huh? I need this explained please.

      October 23, 2016 at 5:11 am
  • Rhiannon Williams

    Yet another morning I regret looking at my screen! I will say though, that however saddened and pissed off people are over this, most are being sensible and sticking with the spirit of #B4R.
    “Still, better to broadcast reps to someone that really doesn’t need them than to withhold reps and let someone who really needs them go without.”
    I have been asked whether this story should have been kept private, but I feel strongly that publishing this was very much the right thing to do and thanks to you guys for publishing!

    October 22, 2016 at 11:30 am
    • Sidrat Flush Rhiannon Williams

      I have rarely been embarrassed to call myself an Eve player, yes there are eye rolls and usually it’s a defensive position while I give examples of how great the community actually is for the very tangible acts of good they perform, but this story about an Eve player using fake social network accounts to bolster their lies is a step I haven’t seen before, while using them to “sell” supers etc etc using them to fake claims of bullying and suicide attempts is beyond the gutter level and thankfully very very rare.

      While it’s depressing to read, I’m glad it’s been published and that CCP are able to investigate and ban this player form their services. Scamming with claims of real life hardship isn’t Eve scamming it feels closer to real life fraudulent behaviour.

      October 22, 2016 at 1:29 pm
      • Dirk_MacGirk Sidrat Flush

        Not sure you should be embarrassed to be an EVE player anymore than embarrassed to be a human being because of the actions of some. This kind of behavior probably isn’t statistically different in EVE than in broader society. But as easy as it is to say “people suck” (my quote not yours), the vast majority are pretty damn good. Or at least Neutral.

        October 22, 2016 at 3:57 pm
  • Erick Asmock

    Agh…I do not understand people like this.

    October 22, 2016 at 1:27 pm
    • Dirk_MacGirk Erick Asmock

      Yes, you do. You know you do 😛

      October 22, 2016 at 3:58 pm
  • Dan Cyr

    Well investigated, and well written. I also enjoyed listening to the discussion on Talking In Stations this morning. It’s really an unfortunate situation, but in the end it’s inevitable and the whole persona stealing thing likely happens more often than we even realize. Hopefully something like this coming to light will strengthen the bond of the Eve community rather than weaken it.

    October 22, 2016 at 3:06 pm