A conspiracy theory suggesting that Australia – a very real and legitimate country with a population of 24.4 million people – is not real has gone viral on Facebook.
Almost 20,000 people have shared the Facebook status, which was written by Shelley Floryd and offers multiple theories as to how Australia is actually "one of the biggest hoaxes ever created."
"Australia does not exist," it reads. "All things you call 'proof' are actually well fabricated lies and documents made by the leading governments of the world. Your Australian friends? They're all actors and computer generated personas, part of the plot to trick the world."
Floryd writes that Australia was actually invented by Britain so it could kill tens of thousands of convicts rather than send them to a country on the other side of the world.
Floryd, who lives in Stockholm, also writes that nearly every person at every level is in on the massive scheme, including airline pilots, who have actually only been flying tourists to islands or "in some cases, parts of South America."
"It was just going to be a short post but I went wild with it and looked up some facts and well, that's how it ended up," Floryd told BuzzFeed News.
Tens of thousands of people have commented on the theory, mostly angry Australians trying in earnest to prove that the country they were born in actually exists.
"A fuckton of Aussies have called me a retard, cunt, idiot, and so on," Floryd said.
"Probably a few thousand have told me they're going to beat me up and I've read some 100 or so death threats.
"One guy said he was going to track my IP to get my address so that he could come fuck me up, so I just sent my address to him instead."
Australia is, of course, real. I know this because I'm in Australia right now, in an office with 30 or so other people who are also in Australia. I could take a picture of the Sydney Harbour Bridge for you, but I don't want to leave the office.
Brad Esposito is a news reporter for BuzzFeed and is based in Sydney, Australia.
Contact Brad Esposito at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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