Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Fan Sites, Conspiracy Theories: The New Online Craze

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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has a growing fan base on Tumblr apparently.

Up until last week, "One Direction Infection" was a Tumblr blog created and maintained by an eighth grader devoted to the British boy band heart throbs.

Now, it's devoted to the Boston Marathon bombing suspect.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Tumblr

Jahar, as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's friends and Twitter followers call him, has amassed a pretty huge following for a man charged with terrorism and WMD use.

He has his own hashtag, #FreeJahar, on Twitter, while thousands of Tumblr and Facebook fans closely follow his case and discuss his "innocence."

Beyond the boilerplate Boston bombing conspiracy theories that claim he's the fall guy or the whole thing is a hoax, there are other reasons for his appeal.

"I do believe he is very cute, but that’s not the reason I'm involved in this movement," the aforementioned 1D turned Free Jahar Tumblr owner told Gawker.

"I am in this because I don’t believe its right to put a totally innocent person in jail for the rest of his/her life or even death penalty. I don’t care who it is, it just isn’t fair."

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Tumblr Pic

By any measure, #FreeJahar is a bizarre expansion of "fandom" culture - rabid communities of admirers, usually young women, that organize themselves online.

Exchanging photos, fan art and writing, their near-undefinable flood of emotion and desire is palpable. In this case, it can also be political and viral.

For the most part, #FreeJahar believers' Tumblr pages are image-heavy and mock the "perception" of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as a terrorist or criminal.

They are conspiratorial ("If you believe the official story regarding Boston, I don’t know what to tell you"), yet, in the majority of cases, blatantly juvenile.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Tumblr Picture

It's hard to tell exactly how many people believe in Tsarnaev's innocence, or how strongly. But there's no doubt that the "movement" is growing fast.

On Tumblr, there are a dozen or so dedicated #FreeJahar blogs, and scores of allies and sympathizers who "like" and "reblog" their posts loyally.

On Twitter, Tsarnaev's friends, many of whom have embraced #FreeJahar, have thousands of followers, while pro-Jahar Facebook pages are heavily "Liked."

It's hard to say what possesses someone to become involved in such activity, but the Jahar loyalists aren't alone. James Holmes has online fans too.


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