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One Direction is a British-Irish boy band formed in 2010, consisting of members Louis Tomlinson, Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik and Liam Payne. The group rose the fame after finishing third in the seventh series of British television music competiton reality show The X Factor.
One Direction was formed in July of 2010 after each member failed to progress to the "Boys" category while competing on The X-Factor. After guest judge Nicole Scherzinger suggested the five boys form a group, they were put together and managed to finish third in the show's "Group" category. After the competition, One Direction was signed to a £2 million Syco Records record contract by Simon Cowell.
On August 9th, 2010, the domain OneDirectionMusic.com was registered, which serves as the official promotional website for the boy band. On September 30th, the "One Direction" Facebook page was created, accumulating over 12 million likes by December of 2012. On October 29th, the @onedirection Twitter account was created, which gained over 8.6 million followers over the next two years.
On July 4th, 2011, One Direction rose to national fame in the U.K. with the launch of an online marketing campaign cenetered around a fictional diehard fan character named 1DCyberPunk, who purportedly stole the group’s laptop and leaked images and videos as fans completed a variety of challenges online.
Zayn Malik's Departure
On March 25th, 2015, One Direction released a statement revealing the departure of one of its members, Zayn Malik, from the group via its official website. In addition, the statement also confirmed that the group will continue their scheduled tour as a four-piece. In a farewell, Malik remarked:
“My life with One Direction has been more than I could ever have imagined. But, after five years, I feel like it is now the right time for me to leave the band. I’d like to apologise to the fans if I’ve let anyone down, but I have to do what feels right in my heart. I am leaving because I want to be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight. I know I have four friends for life in Louis, Liam, Harry and Niall. I know they will continue to be the best band in the world”.
The sudden news of Malik's departure from the group was immediately met with emotional responses from the fans on Twitter, with several related hashtags and keywords rising to globally trending topics, including #Zayne, #AlwaysInOurHeartsZaynMalik, 0.8 Direction and Two Directions, among others. In addition, the fans' emotional reactions were further fueled after Liam Payne tweeted a cheeky photograph of himself and the rest of the band posing alongside fans with a poster of the group, in which Payne is shown obscuring Malik's face with his hand (shown below).
On August 23rd, 2011, a source confirmed to People, E!, and the British tabloid The Sun that One Direction was planning on taking an extended hiatus after the release of their album due February 2016. The source claimed hiatus was in part for the group to work on solo projects throughout 2016. The band's representatives refused to comment directly on the news.
One Direction's gigantic fandom reacted quickly. The hashtag #OneDirection was used on Twitter over 423,000 times, and the words One Direction were tweeted more than 4 million times, and over 50,000 of those tweets used the words "split", "break up", or "hiatus".30 However, the fan reactions ranged from mourning to denial; in addition, many parodied the fandom's reaction as well.
What Makes You Beautiful
On August 19th, 2011, the music video for the group's hit single "What Makes You Beautiful" from the album Up All Night was uploaded to OneDirectionVEVO YouTube channel (shown below). Within 16 months, the video received over 301 million views and 1 million comments.
On April 21st, YouTuber barelypolitical uploaded another parody portraying the group as mentally disabled (shown below, right), receiving over 23.8 million views and 85,000 comments within the next eight months. On July 20th, YouTuber BartBaKer uploaded a parody of the video, portraying One Direction as a group of overly feminine guys (shown below, left), which received over 3.8 million views and 15,000 comments in the next six months.
Other YouTubers followed suit, with over 3,000 search results for the keywords "what makes you beautiful parody" on YouTube by December of 2012, many of which accumulated several hundred thousand views.
On May 28th, 2014, 2:13 p.m. (EST), One Direction band member Liam Payne introduced the hashtags #WearAsManyClothesAsYouCanAtOnceFor1D and #wearahoodyfor1d. These hashtags challenged One Direction fans to layer as many items of clothing as possible, take a picture and tweet it out using the hashtags. In less than 24 hours the tweet gained over 80,000 retweets and over 100,000 favorites.
Some sites speculated that Payne might have introduced the hashtags to divert attention from a video which The Daily Mail published the day before which features One Direction band member Zayn Malik smoking marijuana while band member Louis Tomlinson talks from behind the camera. In less than 4 hours the hashtag #wearahoodyfor1d was tweeted out over 160,000 times and #WearAsManyClothesAsYouCanAtOnceFor1D was tweeted out over 170,000 times.
In addition to their branded web presence, there are many sites dedicated to the band run by their fans. Onedirectionfanfiction collects pieces of fan fiction about the band, One Direction Fans features a photo gallery and lyrics to the band's songs and Onedirectionfans.net features frequent updates on the band's tour dates. Popular fan-run Tumblrs dedicated to the band include official-one-direction, funny-with-one-direction and the5boysnews. Fans tag their One Direction content 1D and One-Direction. As of May 2014, there are over 250,000 pieces of One Direction fan art on DeviantArt.
The band has garnered a considerable anti-fandom as well. A Facebook pages for "One Direction Sucks" and "I Hate One Direction" have received over 9,000 likes each as of December 21st, 2012. YouTuber ghero46 uploaded a video titled "Why I HATE One Direction" on Feburary 21st, 2012, in which he explains how he is disturbed by pre-teen and teenage girls expressing their sexual attraction for the band members (shown below). Within the next year, the video received over 300,000 views and 9,700 comments.
 Metro – Are One Direction's Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson gay? ask US fans / 28-3-2012
 Topsy – "#WearAsManyClothesAsYouCanAtOnceFor1D ":http://topsy.com/s?q=%23WearAsManyClothesAsYouCanAtOnceFor1D%20&window=d&type=tweet&sort=-date
 OneDirection – "Statement":www.onedirectionmusic.com/us/journal/2015-03-25/one-direction-statement