A TEENAGE music fan was sent death threats after posting a comment about pop star Justin Bieber on Twitter.
Courtney Barrasford was told to kill herself and called vile names after she posted a comment about the singer on the social networking site.
The trouble started after the 15-year-old tweeted: ‘Not really a fan of Justin Bieber but his acoustic album is really good!’
The star ‘retweeted’ the comment so his 34m followers could see it.
The City Girls of Portsmouth School pupil said: ‘I came back from drama and everyone had been going on about how good Justin Bieber’s acoustic album was.
‘So I went on to YouTube to listen to it. I then put my comment up.’
Within minutes, Courtney was receiving messages from scores of fans, known as Beliebers.
‘About 10 minutes later my friend sent me a message to say she noticed something on Twitter,’ added Courtney.
‘It wasn’t too bad at first.
‘Some people were saying I was lucky I was retweeted by him and some were jealous.
‘But then it started to get worse as more people found out. I had things like “you’re not a fan, go kill yourself”.’
Soon after that, messages started circulating that Courtney was dating the Canadian pop star – and pregnant with his child.
Courtney added: ‘It was getting completely out of hand. So far things hadn’t got to me. But then they started saying I was pregnant with his child, and that my child would be a prostitute.’
One girl who sent Courtney messages claimed to be a 12-year-old fan from America.
She put: ‘Just tell her to die and leave Justin alone.’
Courtney’s mum, Tina, 45, a warehouse operator, said she could not believe what she read.
She said: ‘It’s all silly and has got out of control. It’s because of jealousy, and all because of a retweet. These sites need more monitoring by those who run them and parents of children who use them. I wonder if the parent of the 12-year-old knows about what her daughter has been posting.’
Courtney, 15, of Buckland, is now warning other social network users to be careful of what they post.
She said: ‘I don’t think these people would say it face to face. But it’s still not nice to hear. I would say to people to ignore it and stop using the site for a while.
‘Don’t reply to these people because they will only hate you more.’
The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre is dedicated to protecting children online and monitors incidents such as this.
A CEOP spokesman said: ‘Social networks online are an increasingly important part of young people’s lives for self-expression and communication.
‘They take risks online, perhaps more so than in the real world, as the computer screen provides the illusion of anonymity and safety.
‘Sometimes young people post without considering the consequences. It’s important young people know what to do when something goes wrong. In the first instance they should flag up offensive comments through the site’s reporting page.’
‘Children can also access support through the BeatBullying Charity, by phoning ChildLine or reporting inappropriate sexual comments to CEOP.’