#Telegraph blogger advocating censorship to inhibit the self-immolation of Justin Bieber fans – /cc @timothy_stanley

Did I say self-immolation? Oh, sorry I meant self-mutilation, but done with a serious, political-protest intent.

Wait, did I say political protest? Ah, well, actually it’s more like an apparent fake attempt to try and coerce their deity:

Operation Cut For Bieber launched this morning with a hashtag on Twitter that proved so successful, it was trending nationwide within hours … “You stop using drugs and we’ll stop cutting. You make this world meaningless and we’ve lost hope,” tweeted @brittanyscrapma, one of several dummy accounts … The hashtags #cutforbieber and #cuttingforbieber quickly amassed dozens of photos from teens and tweens who claim to have slashed their wrists and forearms over Bieber’s drug use, but it remains unclear how many of the photos are authentic, and how many have been seeded…


The story raises several questions. First, why didn’t Twitter crack down on this immediately? If it can ban neo-Nazis from tweeting, then it should be able to exercise some discretion over a user advocating self mutilation.


Tim, there are a bunch of issues at play here. My above flippancy aside, self-harm is a serious issue and neither Twitter not Justin Bieber will be at the root cause of any given individual’s issues. You continue:

Second, who is running these scams and what on Earth motivates them to do it? I don’t want to jump on the anti-troll bandwagon: anyone who sends me an obnoxious tweet does so to a man who either doesn’t care or who has heard it all before. But the troll campaign was targeted at one of the most fragile minorities on the planet – teenage girls. Encouraging hormonal teens to self-harm isn’t a prank. It’s a form of existential assault.

…and I understand what you feel about not wanting to do the “anti-troll” thing – a lot of people find trolling and cyberbullying to be less of a problem than presented by the media, especially in happier homes with people who are more savvy and less likely to be “led on” by what they read on the web. What we’ve found from this experience is that blaming the medium makes no sense.

If the solution is smarter, wiser people and the cause is (unfortunately) trolls, who still exist, then calling for censorship as a protection does not address either the solution or the problem. It’s just a call in support of censorship; and censorship grows. That’s never good.

I’d be interested to know: are there secondary sources for this? Has anyone followed up whether more than these “several dummy accounts” have done anything, or is this perhaps a massive troll (in the original sense of the word) of the media in general?

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