A search for the phrase "bikini bridge" on the 9News Facebook page this morning scores no hits -- meaning that it's presumably been scrubbed out of existence.
But there was enough hubbub about coverage of what's now seen as an Internet hoax to convince young women that emaciation is in that the station chose to report about the previous post -- and in doing so, anchors insisted that its approach was responsible. See details, including multiple memes and a video, below.
As illustrated by the pic above, used by 9News in its original article on the topic, a bikini bridge is the gap between a painfully thin woman's stomach and the suit's fabric when stretched from hip bone to hip bone.
In short, its an eating disorder waiting to happen. But of late, pics and memes celebrating the bikini bridge have been popping up on 4chan. Here's an example shared by Jezebel....
...and here's another.... ...and one more.... ... found in a piece from the New York Daily News:
Additionally, tweets using the #bikinibridge hashtag have multiplied on Twitter. Here's just one example:
— Julia Hue (@Jhue94) January 9, 2014
As is clear from the abundant links above, 9News was hardly the only news agency to dip into the bikini bridge subject, and its online item made it clear the concept was not only a hoax, but a dangerous one.
Even so, Facebook friends apparently dumped on the outlet in a big way after the item was teased on the station page -- so much so that an on-air piece was produced as a way of stressing that the reporting was meant to excoriate the concept, not promote it.
Included is an interview with 9News psychologist Max Wachtel, who says, "I think that it's becoming kind of a theme of internet trolls. Something that they're trying to do now is to get these hoaxes onto mainstream media.
"I think part of it is just for the thrill of it," he goes on. "They're thinking, 'Let's make a big splash with this. Let's make fun of the media because they're going to cover this.' And it just kind of blows up from there."
These comments could be taken as criticism of outlets like 9News for giving any attention to the bikini bridge notion in the first place. But Wachtel goes on to argue that such stunts have the possibility of turning into something real ("I think that a lot of people's fears is that it's not a hoax anymore"), meaning they need to be addressed and squashed as quickly as possible.
In the meantime, the 9News Facebook page has become a bikini-bridge-free zone.
Check out the 9News report below.
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Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
More from our Media archive circa November 2013: "Video: Why Kyle Clark's rant about snowy patio photos hit Buzzfeed, Reddit."