A series of distressing tweets purporting to be from a young girl on the verge of suicide have been exposed as a sick stunt to promote an American popstar.
Police in Toronto were sent scrambling to the rescue of the Twitter user, who had posted a series of worrying countdown messages after writing: "I'll take pills and I'll kill myself."
But not only did investigators come to realise that the tweets were a hoax, they now believe that the harrowing messages were a miserable attempt to promote a new album by American teen idol Ariana Grande.
The Toronto Star reports that police are still attempting to determine who was behind the morbid marketing stunt, but do not believe Grande was involved or had any knowledge of the campaign.
“This is a huge waste of our 911 dispatchers, our intelligence people, and our communications resources,” said police spokesperson Scott Mills.
Twitter users rushed to support @ButerasCandiess, purported to be a troubled Ariana Grande super-fan, when her worrying tweets began on 28 August.
Attempting to secure her safety, local police contacted Twitter to determine her whereabouts - but found that the user was using IP masking software to disguise their location.
After worrying users and sending police on a wild goose chase, @ButerasCandiess tweeted on 30 August saying: "So sorry it was a hoax [sic]".
The account’s previous activity and adoring messages about Nickelodeon star Grande, whose first album is due out on 3 September, have led police to believe the hoax was an insensitive attempt at promotion.
They are continuing to try to find the hoaxer.