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I’m a coward, I live under a bridge and I’m a nasty fecker. I’m a YouTube troll

By Guest Post | January 6 2013 | 39 Comments

We’ve followed Leanne Woodfull’s journey as one of Ireland’s best and brightest YouTube vloggers for years and have been impressed BY her and distressed FOR her in equal measure as we watched the downright nastiness of some of her commenters.  It’s hard to understand the amount of anonymous hate and bullying that occurs as a result of putting yourself “out there”, particularly at a young and vulnerable age when you’re least equipped to deal with it – until you actually see the effect it has.  Read Leanne’s story and give her some Beaut.ie love – she deserves it.

I started my Youtube channel back in 2010, as an extension of my fashion and beauty blog THUNDER + THREADS; I wanted to showcase my favourite products, my outfits and thoughts in a more “visual” manner. I constantly watched gurus on the website, and thought I’d give it a shot as I saw very few Irish fashion/ beauty gurus posting videos at the time.

I was 16, quite naive and wasn’t prepared for the cruelty that lay beneath Youtube. It’s a website infested with trolls, bullies, racists – you name it!

I’ve been on countless social media websites over the years, and I’ve never encountered so many trolls as I have, and still do, on that website.

The majority of people who upload videos to Youtube, and have a sizable audience, will most likely receive abuse from an online troll at least once in their Youtube life. Whether it be a generic “ur ugly” comment, or one that hits a more personal note, I’m sure the majority of gurus have received one. If you have anything different about you, trolls will latch on to that – unfortunately. Trolls will latch on to anything really; they’re keyboard warriors. They get a kick out of putting people down, who they don’t know, behind a computer screen. It’s incredibly sad – you have to learn how to pity them.

My trolls over the years, have latched on to one thing in particular when it comes to me; I developed a facial deformation at the age of 13, a prominent underbite and complications surrounding both my top and bottom jaws. Due to that, bullying in school and outside of school in the “real world” and your average teenage self-hatred, I began to feel depressed, suicidal and was in a dark, dark place for a chunk of my teenage life.

I started my blog in late 2009 as an escapism; a distraction and something to focus on. On my blog I felt protected, creative and was growing more confident with each blog post. I started making Youtube videos in the Summer of 2010 – small reviews of products, light-hearted rant videos, outfit videos etc. Looking back, I half regret it. I regret putting myself “out there” through videos at such a young age, with such little confidence to start off with. I always say to friends and family, that I wish I had waited even another year or two to start making videos.

Nothing prepared me at all for what was to lay ahead over the years. I was slagged almost hourly about my jaw, which conjured up the nickname “Jaws” for me, that still lingers with my trolls today. I was told to kill myself on a daily basis, told how ugly I was etc etc. It was humiliating, embarrassing, depressing and completely terrifying.

I ended up deleting a heap of my first videos, taking various breaks from the channel and stepping away from it all regularly. My confidence plummeted to an all time low. I remember during one of these breaks, I was linked by a subscriber to a hate channel that was set up slagging me. The hate channel had downloaded some of my videos, taken the sound out from them and had dubbed them with grotesque captions slagging me, and saying horrific things about my little sisters and Grandmother. To say I was absolutely distraught would be an understatement.

I’m 19 now, and 2013 is my third year on Youtube. I’m proud of my videos, I enjoy making them and I’ve made quite a few friends through the website. The majority of experiences and benefits I’ve received through my whole “internet journey” has derived from my blog, however. Youtube has caused me a great deal of upset and trouble over the years. Maybe it was young age and lack of confidence that has affected my Youtube experience negatively for me. Still to this day, I get nervous jitters in my stomach when I see (1) New Comment – surely that’s not healthy? As much as I appreciate my subscribers and my fellow Youtube friends, I do wonder whether or not I could have just solely focused on my blog. I think regularly about is the whole Youtube thing, worth it in the end?

I sound ungrateful, I know, but it’s an experience that confuses me entirely. I’m currently on 39,000 subscribers; a lot for an Irish Youtuber, but still quite a small number in the grand scale of fashion/ beauty vloggers worldwide. I’ve lost a lot of my enthusiasm and confidence over the years making videos, becoming very guarded and paranoid about what I put up. I’m having an operation early this year to correct my jaw disfigurement, so I’m hoping that’ll help me regain the confidence I’ve lost. That’s why I haven’t deleted my channel, or have given up yet – I have hope. I have hope that maybe my Youtube experience will improve, that I learn how to brush trolls’ abuse aside completely. For now, I’ll continue to carry on and give it my all.

I still receive abuse daily on Youtube of course, but it’s in the minority. I have to keep reminding myself of that! I tend to delete and block the majority of users who send me abuse, but I must admit that I do put some in their place at times. It’s only human nature to stick up for yourself. My advice to anyone thinking of starting videos is; be prepared for the trolls. That website breeds them, you’ll no-doubt experience them at least once! I’m not trying to scare people off, I’m just trying to warn you. I wasn’t prepared for trolls, but I think if you have the confidence, sense and if you’re prepared, you’ll do just fine. It’s a great community otherwise, and it is fun reading people’s comments and reactions to your videos.

Remember the majority of people are nice, like anywhere, but there’s a huge minority of negative, insecure trolls that feed off of putting others down.

At the end of the day, if you’re proud of what you do – feck the haters! Be nice, it’s simple – karma’s a bitch!

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39 Replies to "I’m a coward, I live under a bridge and I’m a nasty fecker. I’m a YouTube troll"

  • That was an extremely well written piece, Leanne. I can really empathise with you. I made videos for a period of time and, though I had no where near as many subscribers as you, I was abused daily, and some of the comments I received were really grotesque. Oh and the horrible commenters were mainly Irish, whereas people from other countries were very sweet. I was disgusted that my so-called friends were abusing me online!

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  • Leanne i’m sure u have been told many times that people who put other people down are the ones that have low self esteem, judging from the pics above, u r very pretty and i’d say them TROLLs were just jealous.. thick ignorant fuckers…. excuse my french, i cannot abide bullys…. especially ones who can hide behind a computer screen tossers

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  • Wow Leanne, your story is really inspirational! I’ve been bullied all my life, and I just cannot understand what a troll/bully thinks. I would love to be as beautiful as you are! :-)

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  • Aisling

    I am completely in awe of anyone who makes videos on YouTube – the courage it takes is amazing and I wouldn’t have the nerve to do it personally. Well done to Leanne and all the rest of the Youtubers – you rock and you girls keep on going.

    I wish to god that site would step up and take some responsibility for the disgusting comments it encourages.

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  • Aisling

    Holly, what a generous comment, I know you’ve had a hard time online too.

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  • I’ve been a subscriber of Leanne’s for maybe a year now. The quality of her videos is always amazing and super entertaining, she’s one of the few vloggers whose videos I will watch religiously. Also, I emailed her last year asking a few questions and she emailed me back within minutes with really helpful and friendly answers :) She has risen above the hate and always conducts herself so well. So if you haven’t paid a visit to her Youtube channel and her blog, go now because you’re missing out!

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  • Having been bullied myself for something similar (I had a huge overbite and a lisp, which fortunately was corrected with orthodontics) I know how cruel people can be to your face. I can’t even imagine how much that bully’s bile would multiply with them protected sitting behind a screen and a keyboard. Even though my issues were corrected a long time ago, I still have a slight lisp and for that reason have put off doing YouTube videos. I want to, but I’m scared to put myself out there. I have to commend you Leanne for being so brave. I KNOW you will be successful despite the arseholes, and your success will be the best revenge.

    Here’s to a great 2013 for you x

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  • A very well written post on something that us non- you tubers just can’t understand. Your blog is brilliant, Leanne. Keep doing what you’re doing x

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  • Very well-written post. I cannot read Youtube comments anymore, they are by far the most obnoxious and cruel comments I’ve read on any site. Some times it feels like it’s only frequented by 12 year old morons. Kudos to you Leanne for putting yourself out there like that, and that you kept going despite the bullying. I don’t think I could have done the same when I was your age.

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  • Leanne , firstly you are doing an amazing job on something that you obviously love and that really comes through in your videos and remember when someone is doing well at something and they are happy and living their dream there are always “dementors” who want to suck the good out of everything you do as they are on a vicious cycle of both envy and bitterness due to never having the gumption to do something worthwhile and confidence building with their own lives . It’s easy to say ignore them but much much harder to actually do so but try to see that the hate that they spead is in the long run doing them more damage and that they must have very little in their lives to make them happy if the only thing that makes them feel good is to put someone else down whilst hiding behind their avatar self , what to do , two words basically ,FECK THEM !
    You have a bight future ahead of you Leanne and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise :D

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  • Hi Leanne! What a post,my two favourite beauty websites in one! I do feel sorry for these’trolls’ because they proberly do have low self esteem and being nasty makes them feel bigger. I love all your videos and you come across very confident in them. You always make me laugh in them and you’re so stunning. Something has to be done to these cowardly s***s, I know pesonally if I glance at the comments and seee a nasty one I give it a thumbs down straight away.
    Keep doing what you’re doing so brillantly, the trolls only wish they could be you!!!

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  • Great piece Leanne. Fair play to you! Keep up the great work! x

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  • Funny how on blog sites where you can’t post anonymously nobody gets any hate, then on youtube where people can hide behind anonymous account names the hate and nastiness come out! I wouldn’t touch youtube with a barge pole.

    You’re beautiful, have a great figure and look like a model. Please don’t let jealous nasty losers get you down. Anyone who goes out of their way to make someone they DON’T KNOW feel bad about themselves must feel pretty bad about their own selves to begin with.

    I used to allow anonymous comments on my blog, till someone posted anonymously calling me anorexic. I do have an eating disorder and I’m self conscious about my weight and feel ugly being so skinny. Funny how the person leaving the hate couldn’t allow me to just their looks back. Probably because I’d see they were an insecure nobody.

    You know you’re the fucking bees knees when people you don’t even know hate on you. Fuck them babe, you’re beautiful and fabulous – embrace it. There’s alot of good people out there too, and alot of strangers who will support your success and not want to tear it apart.

    All my love to you :) Keep doing what you’re doing and don’t let ANYONE bring you down! Julie xxx

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  • Or even …..Bright Future ahead of you ! ;D

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  • What a super post. I have to say fair play to you for rising above it all, I experienced some online nastiness a couple of years ago when I was quite into the forums scene and it all but put me off altogether. I’m older now and could care less about the small minded opinions of virtual strangers, but i can see the effect that they would have on young, impressionable teenagers. those who make those horrid comments on YouTube seriously need to get a life – you were right Leanne, you really do have to pity them – they obviously lead such empty lives full of anger and hate that they have nothing better to do then try make others feel the same way. They are truly ones to pity.

    I think it’s wonderful you’ve chose to share your experience with us. :) Keep going and forget the haters, because trust me karma really does come all the way back around!

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  • Never heard of Leanne until now… What a beautiful girl!! Checked out some of your videos, and i know that i will be wathing them religiously in future! Haters gonna hate, let them on, you’re better than that! Well done on having that amazing courage to get out there! :)

    P.S: Beaut.ie, seeing as it was so so lovely to find more Irish beauty bloggers and Youtubers through this site, a new Irish blog/channel a week would be really cool! :) xxx

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  • Aisling

    Good suggestion Niamh – it was one of my New Years Resolutions believe it or not!

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  • I never heard of you either but from reading this I think you’re great. You are a beautiful looking girl. Those people are very miserable and unhappy in their own lives. I have been bullied but looking back now, they were miserable, petty small minded bitches. Just keep being yourself. Lifes too short! Big hugs. xxx

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  • The thing is Leanne, happy people don’t do that shit. You kind of know instantly they come from a dark place because it just doesn’t occur to balanced, happy people to do what your trolls have done to you. I’ve done quite a bit of research into trolling; it seems they’re the same people pre-interwebs that would send poison pen letters or make heavy breathing phone calls – all anonymously of course. I consulted with a psychologist about what their motivation really is – it boils down to the simple fact that they want what you have, and with no way to get it, they turn admiration into the ugly cloak of envy and all that entails. When someone else’s confidence, ability or talent resonates in such a way that it actually takes something from the troll – or they feel it does – that’s when they can’t bear it any longer and have to turn to vitriol. I know it doesn’t help to have a rational explanation; it’s all so ugly and hurtful, but I just thought it might be some comfort to know that thing about the happy people. They never troll.

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  • Aisling

    Jane that’s all so true. What’s the video about trolls that was doing the rounds a while ago – the song – it was so funny and true! If anyone can post the link I’ll put it up

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  • Jaysis, I never noticed anything wrong with your face, Leanne, you’re such a cutie (in a non-patronising way)…

    I think the golden rule should be that if you wouldn’t say it to someone when they were in the room with you, DON’T COMMENT FROM BEHIND A SCREEN!!

    Seriously, there is stuff out there (blogs, videos, twitter users, facebook pages) that I don’t particularly care for, some I really dislike but you know what I do? I close it down and look for something else… magic!

    You can’t really blame youtube or twitter for the behaviour of these weirdos though, it’d be like blaming An Post for your credit card statement, it’s about personal behaviour at the end of the day.

    These “trolls” are obviously lacking something in their own lives – attention, love, self-esteem and, in a lot of cases, a good grasp of English spelling and grammar.

    All these things they try to deflect by posting tedious fuckwittery on peoples’ blogs who they perceive to be prettier/more popular/more intelligent than themselves.

    It’s ass-hole-ish-ness (yes, it’s a word) of the highest order.
    Fair play to you (and all youtubers, bloggers etc) for putting yourselves out there, I wouldn’t have the nerve, and if I did, I’d definitely be disabling the comments!!

    Do what you love and love what you do, if other people can’t handle it, then they need to do the world a favour and get a hobby… or a life.

    Excellent post :)

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  • The thing about bullies, cyber or otherwise, is they only focus on people who stand out. They will pick and pick at you, not so much because they hate you as because you are doing something they cannot. Bullying comes out when a certain type of person comes to the realisation that – Shock! Horror! Probe! – they’re never actually going to amount to anything. They’re generally mediocre in every way. Yes, by putting yourself ‘out there’ you may open yourself up to abuse, but also by putting yourself ‘out there’ you are showing yourself to be more brave, more outstanding than any internet troll can ever hope to be. Those who can, do – and those who can’t, comment. She commented!

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  • Thanks so much everyone for your comments – currently on my Nan’s slow-motion laptop, so I haven’t been able to reply to people individually. Really appreciate the advice, encouragement and kind words – a great way to start the new year!

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  • I came across this piece by that young person, browsed through it, and have to say that it was as courageous and dignified as anything I have ever come across, let alone a young teenager. Congratulations and every good wish to you.

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  • Hi Leanne
    I’ve never seen your blog or youtube before till just now (I was reading journal.ie, and clicked on the link to here, then I went on to youtube) and what can I say – you are a very strikingly pretty young girl! I’m more than twice your age and if there is one thing I can honestly say when I look back, is that people who are nasty about how other people look, are those people who are empty – devoid of any character to contribute anything meaningful. It’s the best they can manage, because if they weren’t making hateful statements they’d have nothing to say.

    Pity them – it’s all they can do to get a bit of limelight – whereas you have real talent, and you obviously have the go to really make something of yourself in life.

    Please please do not let ignorant people with their vile comments set you back – there will always be that element of people in life, but just surround yourself with people who know you and support you unconditionally, your real friends will always be there for you. My grandma used to say that in life you are truly blessed if you even have just 3 or 4 friends that you could trust with your life.

    Wishing you the very very best for 2013, onwards and upwards!

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  • There are some amazing people who open up on YouTube. I wouldn’t tend to comment on every video I would watch but if it was something brilliant or that I loved I would definitely comment. I would never dream of leaving something nasty or negative. Its all too easy for those with nothing better in their lives to sit there and make nasty comments instead of making videos of something they feel passionate about. Those with talent should be encouraged. Those who go out on a limb and expose themselves should be praised for what they do.

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  • Well written Leanne. At the end of the day, haters gonna hate! Continue being awesome, and try your best to concentrate on all the positive feedback you get.. I haven’t seen any of your video’s, but you look so pretty in the pictures above. Love your style and admire your bravery. It will all pay off.

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  • Brilliant article! Have checked your videos out there and they are fantastic. It’s very hard for women and girls to do anything creative without getting horrible comments about what they look like. Fair play to you for continuing your videos and doing what you love.

    “You may not agree with a woman, but to criticize her appearance — as opposed to her ideas or actions — isn’t doing anyone any favors, least of all you. Insulting a woman’s looks when they have nothing to do with the issue at hand implies a lack of comprehension on your part, an inability to engage in high-level thinking. You may think she’s ugly, but everyone else thinks you’re an idiot.” – Hillary Clinton

    On a vaguely related topic – I think I had the same jaw condition as you when I was a teenager as well. I got surgery to correct it when I was 19. I thought I was crazy looking back then, but looking back on photos now I actually looked totally fine.

    Anyway – long rambling post over! Well done on your work and best of luck in the future!

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  • One of the first people I subscribed to on Youtube was lollipop26, she was fantastic. Funny, honest and really easy to relate to. A couple of years ago she was chased of Youtube by troll scumbags, thankfully she still blogs but I miss her funny videos so much. Another person I subscribed to a couple of years was Jessica Harlow, I really enjoy her videos but I don’t know how she put up with the nasty, hate filled comments she gets. I can only guess that these people hate their lives and funnel this hate into trolling.

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  • Aisling, only saw your reply now but thank you so much for your response, it means a lot to me :)

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  • Leanne I’ve never seen your videos (don’t have the patience for YT) but had occasionally read your blog and can honestly say I have never noticed anything wrong with your looks, let alone anything that would require an operation!! I’m genuinely shocked at this and other examples of web hate that seem to be par for the course now. Very interested in britishbeautyblogger’s comment: I think a lot more needs to be learnt about why people behave as they do on the web rather than simply “policing” it as politicians seem to want. I wonder as well as plain ol’ jealousy, is some of this a byproduct of celeb/reality TV culture? A generation is now so used to seeing others who seem willing to do/say/endure literally anything – even becoming a hate figure – for fame, maybe it’s assumed anyone with a blog or YouTube channel must be the same and they’re all “fair game” or something?

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  • Great post. I only discovered you tonight and I *love* what you do. The internet is a coward’s playground: any asshole can be anonymous. I think your positivity, creativity and intelligence probably scares them when they look in the mirror, see their own flaws and can’t figure out how to rise above them. It doesn’t excuse their shiftiness but it vindicates you.

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  • that’s a very inspirational post. I met Leanne at the launch of LittleWoods Ireland SS13 and she was so lovely to talk to. Don’t stop what you’re doing x

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  • These people are absolute arseholes, very brave hidden in their sad little lives behind a computer screen.

    You blog and vids are flipping amazing, and if they were doing half as well as you in life they would be doing well.

    Kepp doing what your doing leanne cause ur flipping great at it xx

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  • Great post Leanne, it’s appalling how some people carry on when they’re safely behind their computer screen. YouTube in particular has just lost the run of itself entirely when it comes to trolling. You could post a video of a kitten in a top hat and those weirdos would still find something to bitch about.

    Aisling, I think this is the song you mentioned? I love it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uz2jbCJXkpA

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  • Aisling

    Kitty – thanks!

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  • What an amazing young lady, I’ve used the web since it’s infantcy on dialup 56kbs years ago. (probably before most people using it today were born !) trolls were around then and will be around for a long time. I’ve had my share of being on the end of a keyboard warrior on some forums. In fact one particular well known one here banned me for life for a misunderstanding by another user. I was not trying to do what they were implying but it also affected my business as a link was in my posts and I can never remove it or the posts.

    It is sad that some people obviously have nothing better to do than poke fun at people they have never met or know anything about. I have run bars and nightclubs and worked in retail and security, so I’s like to think I’m a pretty good judge of character. From what I’ve read and seen of you Leanne you are a wonderful person with a great personality. As the saying goes ‘Nil illegitimi carborundum’ or don’t let the b’s grind you down ! Carry on doing what you enjoy and inspire others to do the same.

    I’ve recently started a new relationship and my girlfriend has a 10 year old daughter, she has a YouTube channel and also does things to do with Club Penguin (whatever that is but something to do with penguins and chatting to friends afaik !) she is always saying about cyberbullies and trolls so it’s not just YouTube. Like you she has a facial disfigurement and hopefully she will know it doesn’t matter, you can be whatever you want if you keep trying.

    Well done and keep up the good work <3

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  • Leanne,reading your story inspired me to write my first comment on a blog! I picture a gollum look alike whenever i think of idiots that write hideous comments like that, which they would never in a million years say to your face. Even though rationally you know the comments reflect them and have nothing to do with you at all, it still must be upsetting to see them, so good for you for not letting them stop you doing something you enjoy

    My sister had a prominent underbite and was very conscious of it during her teenage years irregardless if everyone said it wasn’t obvious – years later she still doesn’t like her very cute school photos.She had a corrective operation at 17 and was really happy with the outcome so I wanted to say you are very inspiring and wish you the very best with your operation as well :)

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  • … another subscriber to add :) keep up the great work, your beautiful xx

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