Justin Bieber, the teenage pop singer, has become the biggest star on the internet.
The 16-year-old Canadian has taken over from Lady Gaga as the person who features in the most web searches. Bieber, who was discovered on YouTube, is getting three times as many searches as footballer David Beckham, despite being relatively unheard of in the UK, according to website Ask Jeeves. The site, which deals with questions about his music and love life, said: “It’s as though to millions he only exists on the net.”
It is not the first example of Bieber’s huge popularity on the internet. He topped Twitter’s list of “trending topics” for several months earlier this year. In April this year he came seventh – bizarrely – on a list of the 50 most popular women on the internet, compiled by COEDMagazine.
He has also been the subject of several internet hoaxes and hacks. Hackers managed to abuse a flaw in the YouTube site which allowed them to redirect users to adult sites and send them fake pop-up messages. Several of Bieber’s music videos were targeted, with abusive comments about the singer appearing beneath certain clips and banner messages appearing claiming the singer was dead.
It was the latest in a series of internet pranks against the young singer, whose ‘My World Tour’ page on his website has become the target of an international joke, after a public vote was posted asking where Bieber should tour next – with no restrictions on location.
The despotic North Korea, followed by Israel, has topped the list, with just over half a million votes having been cast. The singer was forced to tweet confirming he is alive.