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Facebook hoax targets N.J. teen suing parents, lawyer says

Colleges and Universities

The New Jersey teenager who sued her parents to pay for college is the alleged victim of a Facebook hoax that appears to be fanning the flame of public disgust aimed at the teen.

Rachel Canning woke up to a new round of outrage Friday morning. But, according to her attorney, she had no hand in it.

"This page is a hoax," attorney John P. Inglesino said in an email to the Los Angeles Times on Friday morning. He was referring to this Facebook page.

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He, as well as some media outlets, say Canning is being pranked through social media accounts that have cropped up in her name.

But that hasn't kept inflammatory remarks from the apparently fake Facebook account from pinging around the Internet -- and fueling rage against Canning, the 18-year-old who recently sued her parents for, essentially, child support.

Her parents portrayed Canning during court proceedings as a spoiled child who refused to abide by house rules before leaving home. Family acquaintance Inglesino was willing to file suit. It all added up to what will likely rank as one of the most sensational social media stories of 2014.

No doubt, the outcome of the lawsuit will be closely watched. Round 1, however, did not go well for Canning.

The Facebook page that Inglesino says is a hoax apparently sought to stir this controversy.

The most recent says, among other things, that "suburban baby boomer types are the spoiled lot. ... We have been stunned by the financial greed of modern parents who are more concerned with retiring into some fantasy world rather than provide for their children's college and young adult years."

We need to point out that at least one media outlet insists that the page containing the above screed was real. The New York Post is reporting that Canning had personally confirmed the legitimacy of the page.

Meanwhile, a reporter for the New Jersey Star-Ledger does a good job of elaborating on other social media pranks targeting Canning.

What do you think? Tweet me @renelynch

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