USF student Rachel Canning mistaken for NJ teen who sued parents

9:36 AM, Mar 6, 2014   |    comments
Rachel Canning appears in court on March 4. Canning, 18, is suing her parents to pay for her college education. Online, a 22-year-old USF student who shares Canning's name has been mistaken for the New Jersey teen.
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TAMPA, Florida (AP) - A 22-year-old University of South Florida student found herself on the wrong end of a social media frenzy involving a teenager with the same name who made headlines for suing her parents.

When Florida's Rachel Canning checked her Instagram account Monday night, she had 200 pending "follow" requests.

The Tampa Bay Times reports commenters confused the student with an 18-year-old New Jersey teen whose claims were denied Tuesday by a judge.

Rachel Canning says people also left profanity-laced comments on a Facebook page she used to campaign for homecoming queen.

Canning says the online bullying is disturbing. But at a commenter's suggestion, she decided to channel the traffic for a good cause. She posted a link to her fundraising page for the group Autism Speaks and has almost met her $150 goal.

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