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    The One Direction Dog Killer Is a Hoax

    Written by

    Fruzsina Eördögh


    Image via Twitter

    The crazed One Direction fan that apparently killed her chihuaha because the band wouldn’t follow her back on Twitter is clearly trolling.

    Since yesterday, outlets like Fox News, Daily MailHuffington Post and the Daily News began running stories on the alleged dog murderer who goes by the name “illumivato” on Twitter. If the Twitter handle “illumivato”—which is a combination of Lovatic (a Demi Lovato fan) and Illuminati, that conspiracy group frequently invoked by trolls—isn’t enough of a giveaway, then the images used by the Twitter account should be.

    The picture currently circulating on Twitter and in the news, of a teen girl crying while holding her dead pet, was actually uploaded on Spanish social networks in July and was ridiculed at the time. Illumivato claims to have killed the dog 19 days ago.  

    Before the account was suspended, illumivato made similar threats to other celebrities—like blending her cat and a different dog, shooting yet another dog, strangling her mother, or killing a child that she “captured” and then bound in duct tape—unless the celebrity in question followed her back.

    A reverse Google image search reveals all the images used in illumivato's threats to be old. Some are really old. The picture of the child bound in duct tape, for example, has been on Twitter since November of last year.  The cat in a blender image has been around since at least 2007. The dog in the blender is actually a plush toy, and was an ad that was pulled in 2010 when viewers thought it was a real canine. The picture of the gun pointed at a dog’s head was used as early as 2005 by a Texan talk show. So on and so on with the rest of the pictures.

    Someone should tell Mya Fhya, who started a Change.org petition to imprison or ban illumivato from twitter.  At press time the petition had 4,000 signatures and the Twitter account was already suspended.

    Teen girl phenomenon is frequently the target of trolls. Just last month, Internet pranksters spread rumors about 42 One Direction fans killing themselves because of an unfavorable documentary about them and this January, 4chan convinced media outlets that Justin Bieber fans were cutting themselves after the singer was seen smoking marijuana.

    These types of trolls are done as a form of  “social commentary on idol worship and how we treat and look up to celebrities,” explained troll and security expert Jaime Cochran at the time. Or, given how easy it was to disprove illumivato’s threats, perhaps this troll was also meant to point out the media's ineptitude at using Google image search?