Rumor Magnet Bieber Is Not Dead, nor Going to North Korea

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Filed under: Practical Jokes and Mischief, Pranksters

Prank leaves Justin Bieber facing tour of North Korea
by Daniel Emery
BBC News
July 7, 2010

Canadian singer Justin Bieber’s has become the target of a viral campaign to send him to North Korea.

A website polled users as to which country he should tour next, with no restrictions on the nations that could be voted on.

There are now almost half a million votes to send the singer to the secretive communist nation.

The contest, which ends at 0600 on 7 July, saw North Korea move from 24th to 1st place in less than two days.

Many of the votes are thought to originate from imageboard website 4chan, which has built a reputation for triggering online viral campaigns.

The voting site is not endorsed by Mr Bieber’s record label.

Given the fact that almost all citizens of North Korea are denied internet access and there are restrictive controls over all media, it is unlikely that any of the votes have actually come from within the country.

A spokesman for the North Korean Embassy in London told BBC News that any application for 16-year-old Bieber to tour would be dealt with by its mission to the United Nations, although the matter would be referred to Pyongyang.

Hate campaign

Justin Bieber has been target of a number of internet pranks in recent weeks.

Last month, a post on 4chan urged users to all search for the term “Justin Bieber Syphilis” pushing it to the top of Google Trend’s Hot Searches list.

And over the weekend, Justin Bieber videos on YouTube were the target for internet hackers, redirecting users to adult websites or triggering pop-up messages saying that the Canadian singer had died in a car crash.

Google temporarily suspended commenting on videos and issued a statement saying: “We took swift action to fix a cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability.” The vulnerability hole was patched a few hours later.

His Last FM page was also hit, with photos of the singer replaced by pornographic images.

There have also been false rumours circulating that Bieber had died, that he had joined a cult, and that his mother was offered $50,000 to pose topless in Playboy magazine.

“Let’s take some time to answer some crazy (rumours)… I’m not dead,” Bieber wrote in just one of his Twitter postings.

And last week he posted that “My mum is a moral woman… let’s just leave that one for what it is… because that rumour just grossed and weirded me out.”