Australian lifestyle blogger Belle Gibson is being sued over one million dollars for lying to millions of fans about a personal battle with brain cancer, launching her own cookbook and app through the false story of her recovery.
The online wellness celebrity is well known all over the world from her inspiring tale of beating a terminal brain cancer diagnosis in her early twenties, through rejecting standard medical treatments for a plan of healthy eating, natural remedies and a restricted diet.
Belle claimed online that she stopped chemotherapy after eight weeks and embarked on a vegetable-rich diet free from gluten, dairy and coffee which shrank the tumour, along with treatments such as colonic irrigation, oxygen therapy and Ayurvedic medicine.
Belle's story started to raise suspicion after many of the charities she publicly claimed to be donating to, failed to receive any money.
"No. None of it’s true."
On a closer look, it was found that not only had Belle never received a diagnosis of brain cancer, she had also lied about her age and many other facts about her life.
In an interview with ELLE magazine, Belle later admitted that her whole story was entirely made up, claiming to be confused by the events and saying, "No. None of it’s true."
"I think my life has just got so many complexities around it and within it, that it’s just easier to assume [I’m lying]."
Once Belle's deception had been confirmed, Penguin books swiftly cancelled their book deal and parted ways with blogger.
“This is an important step in ensuring that consumers receive only verified information and are not deceived..." said the company in an official release over the story.
"....particularly where serious matters of health and medical treatment are concerned."
Belle's story proves that when you're sat behind a computer screen, you can claim to be whoever you want.
An inspiring story can be caught up and spread across the world in a matter of hours without anyone checking the facts behind it.
If we share whatever we're told over social media, how can you ever tell if the stories we're following are real, or just a fabrication of the world wide web?