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Dublin: 14 °C Monday 21 May, 2018

How a teen's Twitter joke went super-viral and sparked vicious abuse

And how she somehow turned it around.

ON NEW YEAR’S Day, teenager Safiyyah Nawaz tweeted a stupid joke to her small Twitter following.

It was a ‘happy birthday’ greeting to the world:

At the time, she had only around 100 followers. But the tweet immediately went viral. At the time of writing, it has been retweeted almost 15,000 times.

It began to inspire vicious abuse:

Some with a racial element.

And some even more disturbing, including hundreds of threats of violence and requests that Safiyyah ”kill herself”.

Safiyyah told Buzzfeed: “I turned my phone notifications off because I was getting way too many. And they’re still coming in.”

She has now changed her bio and profile picture in an attempt to let people know it was a joke.

Somehow, she has also maintained her sense of humour through the abuse.

And she’s gained a huge groundswell of support after being featured on Gawker, Buzzfeed and conventional news sites. (Her Twitter following has rocketed to 40 times its original size.)

She also has a few celebrity supporters. The Roots’ Questlove asked for a place in her cabinet:

And it looks like Snoop is on board too:

Of course, not everyone who falls victim to internet haters gets a happy ending. But more power to Safiyyah, eh?

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About the author:

Michael Freeman

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