It all started with Justin Bieber’s allegedly stolen laptop.
Earlier this week, on Oct. 10, Bieber tweeted to his 28 million followers: “Sucks when u take personal footage and people don’t respect your privacy.” He followed that up with “had a lot of personal footage on that computer and camera and that is what bothers me the most. #lame #norespect.”
Many picked up the story. “Justin Bieber says camera, computer stolen during Washington show,” the Associated Press wrote. “Justin Bieber tweets of stolen laptop and camera, personal footage lost,” wrote the Examiner.
Around that time a Twitter user named @gexwy began tweeting about how he was in possession of leaked footage of Bieber’s. “Good job with the password protected @justinbieber. weak,” the “hacker” tweeted. “@justinbieber wanna see the rest of the footage from his camera,” another tweet read.
Then today: “@justinbieber u have dealt with a lot of rumors for a very long time. as a kid. with the whole world watching. u ready for more?”
Around then Bieber began tweeting the links to all the stories about the stolen footage with the hashtag #noon.
And it was at #noon, that the hoax was revealed. @gexwy tweeted a link to Bieber and Nicki Manaj’s new music video “Beauty And A Beat,” which had just been posted to YouTube. Bieber retweeted @gexwy and it became pretty clear: This wasn’t a case of stolen footage, this was a clever marketing stunt to launch a new music video.
The video, which you can watch below, begins with some text: “In October of 2012 three hours of personal footage was stolen from musician Justin Bieber. The following footage was illegally uploaded by an anonymous blogger.”
Yes, an anonymous blogger, musician, teenage heartthrob, “disruptive innovator” and clever prankster named Justin Bieber.