Crazy ‘stans’ invade celebrities’ privacy

December 7, 2017 — by Esha Lakhotia and Muthu Palaniappan

Reporters cover an interesting phenomenon including celebrities.

As social media has become more and more pervasive, celebrities find themselves being stalked and constantly followed by crazy fan accounts.

The most invasive incidents celebrities experience are not caused by the paparazzi as in the past. Instead it has spawned from the crazy fan culture developed from social media — celebrities’ private lives have become public.

The immense number of fan accounts also increases hate on the internet.

Celebrities’ new girlfriends or boyfriends are always a target of this negativity. Crazy fans fill the comments sections with hundreds of hateful comments, all because they are “protecting” the celebrity they idolize.

For instance, in late 2016, singer Justin Bieber decided to quit using the app Instagram because of this trend. After he had posted a picture with his now ex-girlfriend Sofia Richie, Richie started to receive thousands of hate comments from aggressive and crazy Bieber fans on her Instagram and Twitter.

Bieber took notice and threatened to quit using the social media app if the hate continued. In a couple of days, fans noticed his account was taken down.

In addition to hurtful comments, “fan” accounts of the singer started to make designated posts bashing Richie, although she had done nothing wrong.

Crazy fans who do not consider the happiness and privacy of the celebrity they idolize are extremely problematic.

However, while some fans may be aggressive and hateful, most of celebrities’ fan-bases consist of good-hearted people that truly care about the happiness of the person they follow. On the other hand, “stans” that are extremely invasive give a bad name to the whole base.

The word “stan” was coined by Eminem in one of his songs as a descriptor of a stalker fan. Since then, many celebrities have been experiencing negativity from stans, especially those like former band One Direction or Shawn Mendes who have an audience of younger girls.

Recently, Shawn Mendes has reportedly been seen with model Hailey Baldwin at parties and outings, and Mendes fan accounts have taken it upon themselves to determine whether Baldwin is the right fit for him. Thousands of comments on her Instagram tell her to “back off” or to “better not break his heart.”

Some of these fans have even told Baldwin her to kill herself. The trend of fan accounts gives a platform for obsessive fans to become cyber bullies and allows them to team up to attack a celebrity.  

While some may argue that dealing with the public is part of a celebrity’s job, it doesn’t justify what stalkers do. Private lives are private for a reason, and it’s in nobody’s job description to give that up.

These invasive fans and fan accounts that promote hate online are a new danger that demands attention. Although the people behind these accounts consider themselves “fans,” there is a fine line between admiring an idol and turning into a stalker, whose “love” is really nothing but hate.

There isn’t really a clear-cut solution to this problem, since people have free speech and the right to post what they want. However, it is important for fans to know that they may drive their favorite celebrities off social media with their behavior.

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