The Internet Lost Its Mind Trying To "Save" A Teenage YouTube Star
There is no evidence that she has been kidnapped or is being coerced into making YouTube videos.
Marina Joyce is a 19-year-old YouTube star from north London who was well-known online for her fashion vlogs. In the past day, the hashtag #SaveMarinaJoyce has been trending all over the world, as social media users have come to the conclusion that she is facing some kind of danger.
The panic appears to have been largely sparked by a video she posted on 22 July, entitled "Date Outfit Ideas".
A number of viewers raised concerns about the video, many of which were expressed in this blog. Among other fears, they said that they could faintly hear her saying "help me" 13 seconds in, that there were bruises on her arms, that she was reading from a script, and that she could be seen looking with fear at someone behind the camera. The author of the blog alleged that she may have been kidnapped in order to make YouTube videos.
The next day, #SaveMarinaJoyce began to trend around the world. The hashtag contained numerous assertions about her mental health, her domestic situation, and many more outlandish assertions.
The overwhelming majority of these assertions implied she had been kidnapped.
One theory was that she had been kidnapped for months and that the videos people were now watching had been pre-recorded.
Some fans said Joyce's behaviour had changed in recent months, citing the fact that she seemed to repeat herself and would "just start crying out of nowhere and then immediately go back to normal," among other things.
More than a month ago, a commenter on her Facebook page said Joyce had changed and asked, "are you ok Marina?"
As the hashtag spread, people began analysing her videos and photos for signs of who might be controlling her.
They combed through old videos and social media posts looking for clues that Joyce was crying out for help.
As the conspiracy theories began to mount, Joyce tweeted in a bid to dispel the rumours.
But people were made even more concerned by a tweet asking her fans to meet her at Bethnal Green, an area of East London, at 6.30 in the morning.
Some social media users alleged it might be a trap, such as the one apparently laid by Ali Sonboly, the terrorist who shot dead nine people outside a McDonald's in Munich earlier this month. In fact, it appears she was tweeting about a dance event due to take place on 3 August.
Joyce then attempted to talk to fans on a livestream, in which she denied being on drugs, said that a gun seen in one of her videos was a BB gun, and told her fans "I love you". However, the fact that she didn't address the question of why she appeared bruised in a video prompted more suspicion.
Many social media users began to suggest that her movements provided further evidence that she was in danger.
They hinted that she was suffering domestic abuse, and that she was being "watched".
There is no evidence that she has been kidnapped or is being coerced. The Metropolitan Police visited her on Wednesday and performed a welfare check.
A woman who appeared with Joyce in her "Date Outfit Ideas" video also posted on Facebook to say the YouTuber is fine.
The other woman from the video tried to reassure people, and said she is "not going to tell the world about [Joyce's] private life."
Another friend and fellow YouTuber said Joyce was not in any danger and was just dealing with some "very personal things".
Another YouTuber posted a screenshot of a Facebook exchange, apparently with Joyce's mother, in which she said that her daughter had "issues", and is a "bit vulnerable" but that the situation was "under control".
In an interview with Mail Online, she repeated her daughter's claim that it was a BB gun, denied that there was an abusive relationship, and said: "'It was me speaking in the video. I was filming for her and I whispered 'stand LIKE me' not 'help me'".
She went on: "It's not a publicity stunt, not at all, and I don't think it looks like one."
Joyce herself has now given an interview to The Sun, in which she has said that she thought the concern expressed over her was "kind": "People really care about me and it went crazy and blew up," she said.
“I care about my YouTube channel and after this I have got lots more viewers which is really good.
“But I am really OK. There are no ISIS terrorists here.”