Police have been forced to check on the welfare of a popular north London fashion vlogger after a bizarre kidnap conspiracy erupted overnight, creating mass hysteria on social media.
Marina Joyce, 19, tweeted a link to her latest video on 22 July in which she was showing off a line of dresses.
But some fans became concerned after claiming she could be heard whispering “help me” in a section where her face is obscured.
#savemarinajoyce soon appeared as people pored over her videos and twitter account looking for clues about her well-being.
People even began retweeting obviously fake tweets (Twitter has a 140 character limit) implicating Joyce’s boyfriend.
Concerns grew further after Joyce later tweeted about a meet-up in Bethnal Green, northeast London.
Although the date advertised on the Facebook link was August the 3rd, many assumed she was talking about Wednesday morning, prompting even more speculation and fears it was some sort of elaborate kidnap plot.
By Wednesday morning the entire episode had blown up into mass hysteria, punctuated with confused Americans who weren’t quite sure what a “Bethnal Green” is.
Then the Islamic State rumours began...
Which then escalated rather quickly...
Even fellow YouTubers stepped in to try and bring a little bit of calm, although the interventions only appeared to increase concerns.
After being inundated by calls from frantic fans the police finally stepped in.
Joyce herself tweeted again to reassure her 180,000 followers and 600,000 YouTube subscribers that she was ok.
Predictably this was still not enough to assure some that she wasn’t been coerced or subjected to abuse.
At the time of writing Joyce was live-streaming a video and fielding comments such as “touch your necklace if you’re in danger”.
That’s enough Twitter for one day.
UPDATE: Joyce now has 214,000 Twitter followers to whom she just sent this.
But people are still having none of it.
And just to add to the weirdness Anonymous have felt the need to tell a 19-year-old girl how she’s feeling.
At this point things began to get a bit dark. Despite her protestations that everything was actually fine, hundreds of people began tweeting that they were convinced something more sinister was going on.
Eventually her mother, Cheryl spoke at about the claims.
She told the Mail Online: “Police have visited and they’ve seen her and she’s fine and well.
“The gun is a toy gun, one of those BB guns – I’ve got other children. She’s just done a live stream to fans to show she’s all right.
“As for the bruising, we all bruise easily. There’s no abusive relationship’
“It was me speaking in the video. I was filming for her and I whispered ‘stand LIKE me’ not ‘help me’.
“She’s only young, I’m a good mum and I look after her very well. Marina takes things in her stride and she’s fine.
“It’s not a publicity stunt, not at all, and I don’t think it looks like one.
“Police have put out their own statement and things are now settling down.
“We’re a private family really, this all just turned into a frenzy.”
By this point such was the confusion around the whole situation #savemariajoyce was top Twitter trend world wide - which unfortunately isn’t how you spell her name...
Marina later told The Sun: “The first I knew of it was when I saw the hashtag trending and people started to get worried.
“People really care about me and it went crazy and blew up. People out there are really kind.
“I care about my YouTube channel and after this I have got lots more viewers which is really good.
“But I am really OK. There are no ISIS terrorists here.”
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