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Justin Bieber to North Korea (also known as “Project North Korea is Best Korea”) is an Internet prank orchestrated by users of the imageboard 4chan in early 2010, which aimed to rig an online poll to select North Korea as a destination in Justin Bieber’s “My World” tour.
On May 3rd, 2010, a fan voting page was launched on the website Faxo, which allowed users to select a country for Justin Bieber to visit and perform during his “My World” tour.
The My World Tour is an upcoming concert tour by Justin Bieber. It is his first official headlining tour, and is promoted by AEG Live, and Live Nation. The tour is anticipated to have multiple legs, and the supporting acts for the first will be Sean Kingston and Jessica Jarrell. Pop girl group The Stunners will also serve as an opening act for the first twenty dates. The tour is set to support his first release, My World, and its follow-up, My World 2.0. Who wants Justin the most? Decide now…
Discussions on 4chan
On June 29th, threads began appearing on the /b/ (random) board on 4chan, calling for users to spam the page with votes for North Korea, the northeast Asian country that was ruled by the now deceased dictator Kim Jong-il.
On June 30th, 2010, the Internet news blog Urlesque published an article by writer Cole Stryker titled “4chan Tries to Send Justin Bieber to North Korea”, which reported that North Korea had already received over 100,000 votes on the Faxo poll page. The same day, the Urlesque article was submitted in a post on the /r/wtf subreddit, receiving over 3,000 up votes and 460 comments prior to being archived. On July 1st, the viral content site BuzzFeed published a post titled “Justin Bieber: Project North Korea is Best Korea”, which included an infographic on how to participate in the online prank (shown below).
On the same day, Gawker published a post titled “The Plot to Send Justin Bieber to North Korea”, reporting that North Korea had reached second place in the online poll tailing behind Israel. On July 2nd, The Independent published an article about the prank, which noted that it would not be possible for Bieber to perform in North Korea due to the country’s ban on western music. On July 5th, the BBC published an article titled “Prank leaves Justin Bieber facing tour of North Korea”, which reported that the voting site had not been officially endorsed by Beiber’s record label. The same day, the Internet news blog BoingBoing published a post titled “4chan prank means Justin Bieber must tour North Korea”, which mocked the BBC news coverage of the prank.
On July 6th, MSNBC published an article by writer Helen A.S. Popkin titled “Web prank sends Justin Bieber to North Korea”, which compared the voting scheme to other online pranks including the “Shaved Bieber” Firefox extension created by the Free Art and Technology Lab member Greg Leuch. The same day, the tech news publication Wired posted an article titled “4chan Has Nearly Voted Justin Bieber to North Korea.”
On July 7th, 2010, the voting contest officially came to an end with North Korea topping the poll with 659,488 votes. The results were immediately posted in a screenshot to 4chan’s /b/ (random) board (shown below), which received over 180 replies. The same day, MTV News published an article titled “Justin Bieber is Not Going to North Korea, Rep Confirms”, which quoted a Bieber spokesperson who revealed that the voting page was “not a legitimate contest.”
Several YouTubers uploaded videos providing commentary on the prank, many of whom celebrated the operation’s apparent success.