After a headline from press outlet Arab News was doctored to allege that Marwa Elselehdar, Egypt’s first female ship captain, was responsible for blocking the Suez Canal, she became the subject of online vitriol.
The doctored headline, according to the BBC, seemed to be a manipulation of an actual Arab News story that had profiled Elselehdar in March. The misinformation spread quickly online after the article was shared on Facebook and Twitter.
A number of Twitter accounts claiming to be Elselehdar also began gaining traction, backing up the narrative that she was responsible for the blockage.
In reality, she was in Alexandria, thousands of miles from the canal and the ship responsible for the blockage, the Ever Given.
The origin of the misinformation has not been confirmed.
Speaking to the BBC, Elselehdar said that because the fake article was in English, the misinformation spread quickly to other countries.
“I felt that I might be targeted maybe because I’m a successful female in this field or because I’m Egyptian, but I’m not sure,” she said.
In 2016, she was the first female and the youngest Egyptian captain to cross the Suez Canal.
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