Sometimes -- just sometimes -- the Internet surprises us and does the right thing. This seemed, at first, to be the case with 16-year-old Kara Alongi, who tweeted an urgent message from her home in New Jersey last night, at around 6:20: "There is someone in my hour ecall 911." Then "the Internets" picked up the story and worked its viral magic, creating the hashtag #helpfindkara with support coming in the form of prayers, well-wishes and a PSA. The teen has since amassed over 100K followers.
But according to Patch, Alongi did not call the police, nor did her original Twitter followers. Her parents did. Police responded immediately, but discovered, oddly, that it's likely Alongi staged the whole thing:
The investigation quickly revealed a number of inconsistencies in the teen's statement. Specifically it was discovered that a person called a local taxi company asking for a car at Alongi's address around the same time the Twitter message was posted. Later, the driver positively identified Alongi as the fare he picked up and said he drove her to the Rahway Train Station, dropping her off a few minutes later.
In other words, after tweeting for help, it is believed that Alongi took a cab to the train station and ran away from home.
After news of Alongi's hoax spread, #helpfindkara turned from the best of the Internet to the worst of the Internet. User Micki Perfection tweeted, "on a scale of kony to kara alongi how good are you at hide and seek??" and another user posted a "Finding Nemo" poster, Photoshopped to say "Finding Kara." (It does not help that Alongi's pre-hoax tweets are glib and often really mean, filled with insults like "Sucks to be gay but pretend you aren't cause then you just look like a freak.")