A Walloon Brabant official was the target of online hatred for months by a group of opponents of the Brussels circulation plans.
The public prosecutor’s office has started an investigation into identity fraud committed by opponents of the Brussels circulation plans on the social networking site The standard. As the investigation is still ongoing, no further comment will be made.
A year ago, anonymous opponents of Good Move – the name under which the Brussels government rolled out several new circulation schemes for passenger cars in the capital – got into a fight on X (formerly Twitter) with an also anonymous supporter of the plans, a user with the pseudonym ‘Albert Lechat’. The opponents then decided to try to find out the true identity of ‘Albert Lechat’.
Ultimately, they incorrectly linked the anonymous profile to Cédric H., a Walloon environmental official. They then launched an online bullying campaign against H., which would last for months. Not only did they post many details from H.’s private life online, they also opened a fake account on X in his name. Using that account, they then deliberately posted messages that gave him a bad reputation, such as a video in which he allegedly provoked a fight. H. was eventually confronted at work about the messages on ‘his’ profile.
Complaint to investigating judge
In mid-September, H. hired a lawyer and not much later he filed a civil complaint with the investigating judge in Brussels. The complaint is directed against a communications strategist from Uccle, a former party secretary in the Brussels Parliament and someone with very close ties to the non-profit organization Mauto Défense, an organization that has been fighting Good Move for years.
In the meantime, the hate campaign against X against H. seems to have stopped. The fake profile in his name was also removed. “I am now calmly awaiting the judicial investigation,” H. says The standard. ‘Although I fully intend to go to the extreme. This cannot go unpunished.’