Thursday, Jul 28, 2016
YouTube star Marina Joyce dead? You have been duped.
It has happened again and again. And not just on April 1. People keep falling prey, not just to scams, but also to rumours and hoaxes involving the supposed deaths of famous personalities.
Then comes the flood of outrage following the revelation that the news is fake, awkwardly mixed with feelings of either great relief or increased anger, depending on whether you're a fan or hater.
Viral hoaxes propagating via phones and social media platforms have become so frequent, spreading paranoia like a contagious disease in a number of cases.
But it's so easy for people to get duped when a death hoax targets one's heartstrings and involves a person they love or loathe.
Save Marina Joyce
Most of us don't know who she is, but to legions of her YouTube fans, recent rumours first claiming her life was in danger and then that she was found dead caused them much distress.
After the British fashion vlogger uploaded a puzzling video last Friday (July 22) that seemed to contain an implicit plea for help, a report from BuzzFeed claimed that she had been found dead at a place where she had asked fans to go for a meet-up.
The report came from Buzzfeed's community section, where users could post anything they want.
It said: "At precisely 10:03 PM GMT the Bethnal Green Police made a Press Release stating that the body found near a warehouse today when reporter by a civilian is indeed Marina Joyce. An autopsy is still in place and her family members are being informed. "People residing in Bethnal Green and surrounding areas are being told to be cautious and report any suspicious activity" - Bethnal Green Police Chief. The situation is still ongoing as there is assumption that multiple people may be involved in the murder, more updates to follow."
Then the truth unravelled. A tweet from the police stated that she was safe and well.
The strange story started taking shape after she posted a video titled "Date outfit ideas' in which she could be heard faintly whispering "help me".
Fans over-reacted and thought she was being held by Islamic State terrorists against her will. Some even called the police, sending officers to her house to investigate.
HollywoodGossip reported: "She wore a dazed expression that caused some to fear Islamic extremists had drugged her up in some way, with fans looking closely into her wild eyes and some even claiming they could see the reflection of a hooded cameraman."
On Tuesday (July 26), Marina Joyce tweeted to fans to meet her in London's Bethnal Green on August 3 at 6.30am.
"If you want to PARTTEEEYY with me? Tweet me now if you wanna party with me - I'll put details out for where to meet soon for the day," she wrote.
"Meet me Bethnal Green at 6.30am if you would like to join partying with me," Joyce added later.
The video and the tweet had fans worried for her as well as for those planning to meet her at Bethnal Green.
Then came the mass paranoia when Twitter was flooded with the hashtag #SaveMarinaJoyce.
Many thought she might have been kidnapped and forced to set up her fans for a terrorist attack, recalling the tactic employed by Munich attacker David Ali Sonboly in a shooting last week that killed nine people and left 27 injured.
Sonboly reportedly plotted with a friend to lure people to a McDonald's outlet using a Facebook post promising free food. So many Marina Joyce followers warned others not to go to the Bethnal Green meet-up.
The YouTube sensation finally appeared in a video, repeatedly saying "I love you" and adding: "I'm not in danger and I'm not on drugs."
However, she advised everyone to avoid going to next week's morning party, the one she had previously tweeted about.
"Don't go to the event just in case. I don't want to get people in trouble," she said.
As if it's not confusing enough, her latest tweet earlier today (Singapore time) read: "Hey guys because of recent events, not doing the meet up Wednesday - but I'm going to the meet on the 6th Saturday instead so meet me there!"
Her video that sparked the panic has since garnered more than 15 million views.
Browse the gallery to find out more about other hoaxes that have made many feel hurtful after discovering they have been fooled.