Reports that Canadian teen pop star Justin Bieber was diagnosed with cancer turned out to be untrue, but additional reports have suggested that rabid fans of the singer (known on the internet as “Beliebers”) may have shaven their heads in support of the celebrity’s ultimately fictional illness.
The #baldforbieber hashtag started to trend on Twitter after a planned 4Chan prank to convince fans of the Biebs to shave their heads in support of the not-really-ill star, but due to the initial exposure given the prank, it was nipped in the bud when several tweets exposed it as a joke.
Reddit seems to be where the “Bald For Bieber” prank both got its start and its end, in rapid succession. Gawker quotes one Reddit user who explains that he or she witnessed the genesis of the bid to get Justin Bieber fans to shave their heads, as well as its rapid demise:
“I was there when we started this s***. Somebody made a few twitter accounts, we edited Wikipedia, we spammed chat rooms, and we even posted here on Reddit (but it was deleted for lack of evidence). Somebody made a few fake news posts too which were convincing but without a link it wasn’t enough.”
Whether or not any Justin Bieber fans shaved their heads as a part of the “Bald For Bieber” hoax remains to be seen, but no fans of the superstar have stepped forward publicly to report being taken by the Twitter hoax.
The #baldforbieber trend may also have failed to catch on initially not just because of its early exposure — the signs being held up by Justin Bieber fans who had purportedly shaved their heads in solidarity with the popstar held clearly photoshopped signs bearing the Bald For Bieber legend.