The social-media rumor mill is gearing back up as a elaborate tale about singer Justin Bieber potentially being wanted by authorities in Dubai makes the rounds.
The claim appears to have originated on Reddit, which increasingly plays an outsize role in shaping news coverage as nuggets of story ideas make their way up and down its rankings.
A Redditor with the username xxdanabxx, who has uploaded photos of media credentials to Bieber events as a form of proof of his or her closeness to the story, has been updating users of the site about a supposed situation taking place in the Middle Eastern nation that has allegedly resulted in Bieber being wanted by Dubai authorities.
The post that got the whole rumor started claims that Bieber "may be getting arrested" once he steps offstage following a show in Dubai: "After showing up 2 hours late for his second show, blowing away his police escort in a rented lambo and running, running red lights and hitting up to 240km on the highway the dubai police have had enough. Adding to the madness, his body guard and 1 entourage has already been arrested and Bieber threatened to not go on unless he was released knowing full well the Sheikh's daughter is here. Dubai Police confiscating his car now. More to follow, he's going on now."
There is clearly a lot of skepticism about this situation, but the poster stated that he or she is "working at Dubai Rugby Sevens stadium for his May 5th second date" as an explanation for being privvy to the salacious information.
And the story just gets weirder as time passes, as xxdanabxx updated readers with the following crazy tale: "Ok he ran into the dressing room saying hide me hide me. Police have taken his cars and passport. His set may be cut short Ran into catering tent first Said 'they're gonna arrest me they're gonna arrest me. Staff had to bring him cold towels cause he was in such hysterics."
In the end, though, a later update states that Bieber apparently has not been arrested, and it is hard to determine whether the whole thing was just a complex hoax, or if Bieber really did have a crazy time in the Middle East. Here's that post: "Ok they have let him leave the venue but unsure if they have taken his passport or he'll be able to leave the county. Sorry for the anti climactic end."
The odd rumor comes shortly after it was revealed that the E Online Twitter account was hacked and sent out erroneous tweets claiming Bieber had come out of the closet.