The story began to spread when someone named Madeleine posted on Facebook that a Marcia Karlsson had been murdered by her ex-boyfriend who reportedly lived at a home for asylum-seekers. The story then spread across Swedish social media, prompting heated debates on websites linked to the far-right and extremist groups.
Marcia Karlsson however has never existed and there is no murder registered in her home town of Jönköping in central Sweden since February 2013, according to a report in the Metro daily.
The newspaper has checked Marcia Karlsson’s Facebook account, which has been active since November 2011, and found that the profile picture is in fact someone completely unrelated to the story, Hennie Hägström.
“When I was tagged in the picture I saw that it read ‘rest in peace, beloved friend’, I became a little concerned over what my family might think,” Hägström told the newspaper.
Madeleine’s post about "Marcia Karlsson's" alleged demise was shared over 7,000 times on Monday and several of the comments contained racist sentiments.
After she was informed about the hoax, Madeleine claimed that she had herself been duped. She explained how she had been in contact with Marcia Karlsson and a further person, named Patricia, who claimed to be a mutual friend.
“Two years ago I had a Facebook page with over 6,000 friends. I approved all who sent a request. I received a friend request from Marcia Karlsson, we started to chat and we spoke a few times on the phone,” Madeleine told the newspaper.
Madeleine adds that after a while Marcia Karlsson asked her to add Patricia to her list of friends and the relationship developed after that. Last week Patricia got in touch with Madeleine and told her that Marcia had been murdered.
A further protagonist, Erik Karlsson who claimed to be a police officer, then entered the picture. Karlsson, also revealed as a fake Facebook account by Metro, told Madeleine that he was in deep shock about the fate of Marcia, to whom he claimed to be related.
“I feel deeply violated,” Madeleine told Metro.
There is currently no trace of the actual people behind the faked Facebook accounts or the elaborate hoax, but Madeleine told Metro that she "is against all religions and has no qualms saying so" and speculated that her views may make her of interest to the far-right.
Earlier this year, Metro reported on another fictional Swedish woman with an elaborate internet profile who called herself Veronica and was an active commenter on news websites and chat forums, but whose identity could never be verified.