A hoax hashtag involving singer Justin Bieber trended globally after many of the teen heartthrob's fans lapped it up.
The hashtag #cutforbieber trended globally on Monday, though no teen girl had actually cut herself to discourage Bieber from smoking weed, ReadWrite.com reported.
#cutforbieber #cut4bieber this was earlier.. @justinbieber sorry for not being able to write your name on there.. sorry twitter.com/dutchminati/st…
— ☪ Brittany Newton ✡ (@dutchminati) January 7, 2013
"The hashtag #cutforbeiber began trending globally around 3 p.m. Eastern Time, reports the Daily Dot, and was still trending by early morning Tuesday. By early Monday evening, the notorious trolling group GNAA had claimed responsibility for the prank, but that didn’t stop the hashtag from spreading to Tumblr," it noted.
By 2 a.m., it cited Twitter analytics by Topsy showing #cutforbieber had been mentioned more than 350,000 times.
Yet, it noted the hashtag was just a creation of Internet pranksters at 4chan’s /b/, a forum whose users are "typically characterized as male teens."
Photos of Bieber smoking a joint at a party had made the rounds of the Internet over the weekend, and inspired the hoax.
“Tweet a bunch of pics of people cutting themselves and claim we did it because bieber was smoking weed ... See if we can get some little girls to cut themselves,” wrote the user who started the hoax.
A discussion in the forum then followed, where members discussed ways to make their newly created Twitter accounts appear authentic.
Once they put their plan into action, actual female Bieber fans who follow Bieber-related hashtags fell for it.
ReadWrite.com said the three most popular photos of young women’s arms cut by razors or knives are fake, initially spread from the Twitter accounts of the pranksters.
But it also pointed out many young people not associated with 4chan used the hashtag to remark on how confused or concerned they were.
They also remarked how stupid they found the hashtag, believing their young peers were actually cutting themselves.
Others mocked the trend with photos of themselves threatening to cut their hair or their pets, cutting paper, smearing ketchup on their arms or cutting marijuana plants.
"All the teens and young 20-somethings mocking the trend then stirred Twitter outrage among concerned users who then furthered the longevity of the hashtag well into the night," ReadWrite.com said.
In the end, the pranksters' bid to get a teen girl to actually cut herself never materialized. 'Underaged idiocy'
"(T)his isn't the first time the group has attempted to bait Bieber fans. 4chan’s /b/ recently tried to get Beliebers to shave their heads with a Bieber cancer hoax, but no teen girl believed that hoax, either. It seems teen girls are not as gullible as 4chan believes," ReadWrite.com said.
"No doubt one day members of both groups will grow up and find each other through online dating sites like OK Cupid. Until then, it looks like the rest of the Internet will have to put up with their underaged idiocy, be it in the form of pranks, worldwide trending hashtags about Bieber, or in this case, the unpleasant combination of both," it added. — TJD, GMA News