Internet trolls have pulled a prank on Justin Bieber fans by starting a rumour on Twitter that the pop star had cancer and urging people to shave their heads to show support.
A member of the online group 4chan started the hoax this week by sending a fake tweet that looked like it had been sent from the US celebrity news show Entertainment Tonight.
The tweet said: "Pop star Justin Bieber was diagnosed with cancer earlier this morning. Bieber fans are shaving their heads to show their support."
Below the message there was another tweet that appeared to have been sent from Bieber himself, saying that he was thankful for the support.
Others from the message board Reddit then began spreading the hoax, editing Wikipedia, spamming chat rooms and creating fake news posts and Facebook pages for Bieber.
At one point a 4channer created a #BaldforBieber hashtag on Twitter encouraging people to shave their heads which was retweeted by more than 900 people over the past week.
A screenshot of the fake tweets was also sent around the internet with a photo of a girl who supposedly shaved her head.
It is not known how many fans were fooled into shaving their heads.
The Facebook page Justin Bieber Gets Cancer features one photo of a young man with a shaved head holding up a printed sign of the #BaldforBieber hashtag.
US radio station z104 FM also filmed women shaving their heads in the studio.
Bieber himself has not come out to deny the rumour but his bodyguard Kenny Hamilton took to his Twitter account to deny the diagnosis.
Author: Alys Francis. Approving editor: Nick Pearson.