1. Someone sent me a tip about this & I was trying to catch up on the situation and discovered that McLNeuro (BethAnn McLaughlin) has been suspended from Twitter sometimes between 1:28am EDT, the last time I looked at her account, and 2:28am.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BethAnn_McLaughlin https://twitter.com/rachelleingang/status/1290027883155480577
2. Archives of McLNeuro's tweets can be viewed here. http://Archive.is  is case sensitive so different tweets may be archived at each link. You will need to add an asterisk at the end after clicking on the link.

3. There is speculation that McLaughlin ran a fake Twitter account for a non-existent indigenous professor at Arizona State University who she claimed died from COVID-19 last month and held a Zoom memorial service for.
4. That account, Sciencing_Bi, has also been suspended sometime between 1:31am EDT when I last tried to look at & it was private, and 2:42am EDT. ( http://archive.is/Z45zv ).

Archive of account page as of now: https://archive.vn/JK8GD 
5. Limited archives for Sciencing_Bi can be viewed here. You will need to add an asterisk at the end after clicking on the link. Twitter doesn't link it properly for some reason.

6. McLaughlin's last thread on McLNeuro account which I still had open in a tab. She admits to having had "an anon account mytchon/bam294." Can't find archives for either. mytchon doesn't exist and bam294 hasn't tweeted.

Archive: https://archive.vn/lgOkP 
7. Here are some more threads about the speculation that McLaughlin (McLNeuro) had been running Sciencing_Bi since October 2016.

https://archive.vn/MGmpx  https://twitter.com/endlesswario/status/1290062477657436161
8. Before Sciencing_Bi went private, people found that many of the photos being posted by the account were stock photography. See downthread for examples.

https://archive.vn/Ns9Wb  https://twitter.com/IsabelOtt/status/1290007767109865475
9. McLaughlin is best known online as the founder of #MeTooSTEM. She appears to be the only employee left after an exodus in 2019 & February 2020.

Current archive: https://archive.vn/9L81M 

Older archive of Our Team: https://archive.vn/XNbqC 
12. Unclear what lawsuit McLaughlin is referring to in her last thread. In 2018, a former colleague from Vanderbilt University where she used to be an assistant professor sued her for defamation. https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6092265-Galli-Complaint.html
13. If anyone has any info/tips about McLaughlin or Sciencing_Bi, my DMs are open. #MeTooSTEM
14. Forgot to include McLNeuro’s 7/31/20 thread announcing Sciencing_Bi’s supposed death from COVID-19.

Archive: http://archive.is/5oL5D 

(No indication that any ASU prof has died: https://twitter.com/rachelleingang/status/1290027883155480577)
15. Update:

After doing more research I deciding to continue adding to this thread. Some commentary and questions about community responsibility at the end.
16. I would ask that people refrain from tagging anyone mentioned in this thread.

While this may be just a wild/funny story to you, real people were taken advantage of and in some cases believed a person was real for almost 4 years.
17. Being lied to and taken advantage of can have significant and long-lasting consequences for targets and whole communities.

The reason I decided to write about this case is because I think there are lessons here for others who weren’t involved with these people.
18. Update from @rachelleingang that Twitter confirmed to her that they suspended McLNeuro & Sciencing_B "for violating our spam and platform manipulation policies”. https://twitter.com/rachelleingang/status/1290362605769433089
19. This is probably the relevant section of the policy.

Archive: https://archive.vn/FEaTk 
20. Based on the message you see when you go to McLNeuro & Sciencing_Bi, these appear to be permanent suspensions. If they were temporary, the accounts would still be visible.

Permanent suspensions can be appealed but are rarely reversed.

21. Twitter rarely comments on reasons for suspensions so I’m surprised that Rachel was able to get this comment from them.

More on suspended accounts.

https://help.twitter.com/en/managing-your-account/suspended-twitter-accounts https://archive.vn/6b4ss 
22. I should have linked McLaughlin’s response to the defamation lawsuit above (tweet #12) in which she denies most of the allegations:

and noted that both documents came from this Buzzfeed article linked in tweet #11. https://twitter.com/keikoinboston/status/1290189014352289792
24. In response to a tweet from a professor at the University of Maine in which she announced that she was deleting a tweet about Sciencing_Bi’s supposed death, …
25. … Chris Nicholson, Associate Research Professor & Director of Digital Antiquity at ASU, said yesterday that he’s not aware of anyone in his department dying.


See also thread in tweet #18 from a reporter at @azcentral.
26. According to BatesPhysio there were just 3 attendees at Sciencing_Bi’s Zoom memorial that McLNeuro organized—BatesPhysio and 2 men. She found this to be a suspiciously small number and there were more red flags raised during the call.
27. I’m not tagging or linking directly since BatesPhysio said she doesn’t "want to be mixed up in what is clearly shenanigans”.

Archive of full thread:
28. Rest of BatesPhysio’s thread on McLNeuro & Sciencing_Bi.
29. The story has made it into the news, although so far articles are being generated solely off allegations on Twitter. The only original reporting I’ve seen so far is @rachelleingang’s thread about contacting ASU & Twitter. https://twitter.com/rachelleingang/status/1290027883155480577
30. This Heavy article gives a pretty good overview of the current and past controversies involving McLaughlin but it leaves out the lawsuit.

https://archive.vn/XVdIb  https://twitter.com/HeavySan/status/1290283380962025472
32. If even some of the claims about McLNeuro / Sciencing_Bi are true then McLaughlin seems to be someone dealing with severe mental health challenges.
33. The case sounds like Munchausen by Internet but with the added twist that it appears that McLNeuro was pretending to have COVID-19 as an invented persona (Sciencing_Bi). So it sounds like this was Munchausen by Internet by catfishing?

34. I should note that catfishing typically refers to someone who sets up a fake account to target specific people, often in online dating scams. So far I haven't seen any claims that @Sciencing_Bi was involved in any online romance.

35. I first came across the term Munchausen by Internet a few months ago when doing some research on someone I used to know.
36. I found a screenshot from “Dying to be Ill: True Stories of Medical Deception” by Marc Feldman & Greg Yates and bought it. The book is about people with factitious disorder. It has been an extremely eye-opening if difficult read. https://twitter.com/keikoinboston/status/1260773397103067138
37. Overview of factitious disorder:

“Dying to be Ill” devotes a whole chapter to Munchausen by Internet. https://twitter.com/keikoinboston/status/1260773416908607490
38. The chapter includes first hand accounts from people who have been harmed emotionally by people with factitious disorder whom they met online and even the people in the friends' lives who have been affected by those fictional accounts of illness. https://twitter.com/keikoinboston/status/1260777492727685121
39. If you’re someone who was taken in by Sciencing_Bi’s story, you might find “Dying to be Ill” helpful.

The complaint against McLaughlin in tweet #12 may also be an interesting read.
40. Even if you reject Western notions of mental illness, a healthy person would not have a need to do something like this and harm so many people in the process.
41. This case raises questions I’ve been thinking about for some time that keep coming up in cases I’ve tracked and written about.
42. What is the line between where mental illness offers an explanation for a person’s dysfunctional behavior and where they use it as an excuse, a crutch, or a shield against accountability?
43. Some people with mental illness appear to weaponize their illness in DARVO fashion to justify their lying and abuse of others or downplay harm that others are experiencing as a result of their (mis)behavior in professional contexts.
44. Some of these people are very successful at painting themselves as the victim of “evil” others which can result in their friends/followers bullying the others while friends/followers of the targeted people will bully the targeter.
45. It becomes a circular firing squad or proxy war between followers.
46. If a person behaving in antisocial/dysfunctional ways is public about being mentally ill but refusing treatment, what can/should online friends and colleagues do?
47. What responsibility does a community have for calling out a person’s antisocial/dysfunctional behavior that likely stems from mental health issues? Is it ableist to do so?
48. Or is it more ableist (via the bigotry of low expectations) to enable people who perpetuate harm against others due to poorly managed mental health issues?

I’m working on a thread on this topic that I hope to tweet later this week.
49. Some thoughts from Zeynep Tufekci who wrote about a similar case related to the Arab spring, in which an American grad student pretended to be “Amina”, a lesbian in Damascus.

https://archive.vn/AIsq1  https://twitter.com/zeynep/status/1290291662678237185
50. One thing that I haven’t seen in any of the commentary I’ve read is that it’s perhaps unsurprising that there are multiple cases of white people adopting the identities of marginalized people that in some cases gain them more notoriety than they might garner as themselves.
51. I expect we’ll see more of this as some POC and some whites continue to pathologize and demonize “whiteness” and some LGBTQ people demonize being straight and/or cisgender.
52. For white/straight/cis people secure in their identities the cultural zeitgeist won’t be an issue but for those who are insecure or self-loathing it is little wonder that they would rather take on a heroic identity as a person of color, an LGBTQ person, or even better—both.
53. Why wasn’t it enough for McLNeuro to just be BethAnn and what were the conditions in her community that may have contributed to the belief that being BethAnn was not enough?
54. People may engage in this sort of behavior for all sorts of reasons, but the central one seems to be attention.

I didn’t think to check SocialBlade last night but fortunately the data for McLNeuro’s account is still there.
55. After being on a streak of mostly losing some followers for most of July, McLNeuro gained 270+ followers after announcing Sciencing_Bi’s supposed death.

57. Unfortunately Sciencing_Bi was not in SocialBlade’s database until I checked today (which added the account). Only general info is displaying but I archived it anyway.

https://socialblade.com/twitter/user/sciencing_bi https://archive.vn/xRMx3 
58. This is a sad case for all involved. I’m very sorry for those who knew and trusted McLNeuro / Sciencing_Bi and hope that you’ll find answers to your questions and a way to move forward.
59. Meant to attach the definition of DARVO to tweet #43 but it’s too far back so I’m not going to delete and redo. It stands for "Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender”.

60. I just remembered to check the Twitter account for McLaughlin’s organization, MeTooSTEM. If you go to the account’s page there is a splash page with the warning: “Caution: This account is temporarily restricted”.

61. According to http://shadowban.eu  there are multiple account restrictions on MeTooSTEM right now.

62. It seems that the Zoom memorial for Sciencing_Bi was officially organized by MeTooSTEM who represented Sciencing_Bi as a volunteer with the organization.

L: http://archive.is/JtUKZ 
R: https://archive.vn/WZHNl 
63. As I said above, McLaughlin appears to be the only remaining employee of MeTooSTEM so she is the person most likely to be managing the account. https://twitter.com/keikoinboston/status/1290189002948190208
64. Update:

Excellent reporting from @rachelleingang at on BethAnn McLaughlin (McLNeuro) & Sciencing_Bi.

Article goes into what she found out from ASU & the head of the Dept of American Indian Studies at the University of Arizona. Points to hoax. https://twitter.com/rachelleingang/status/1290488870740533249
66. Note that McLaughlin seems to have given contradictory accounts to The Daily Beast and The Arizona Republic about how well she knew Sciencing_Bi.

1 & 2: The Daily Beast
3: The Arizona Republic
67. McLaughlin’s account to The Arizona Republic does not match claims made in tweets of a close relationship with Sciencing_Bi including having met her in real life.
68. Archive of the thread in which McLNeuro announced Sciencing_Bi’s supposed death “from COVID”. McLNeuro claimed in replies that Sciencing_Bi’ “gave the best hugs”. https://archive.vn/5oL5D 
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