New Zealand born Tristan Barker is wanted by authorities in Australia over comments made on the interne. Picture: Kerry Grant, Herald On Sunday NZ Source: Supplied
AN 18-year-old who uses an army of 300,000 teenage followers to harass and intimidate people online has been unmasked as Australia's worst web bully.
Tristan Barker, who has a track record of terrorising vulnerable members of the community, said his aim was to see how far he can push his internet-subscribed fans.
But frustrated Victorian police are unable to interview him because he is in New Zealand living with his musician dad, Michael Barker a former drummer with Split Enz and John Butler Trio.
An investigation by The Sunday Times shows Tristan, a recent Melbourne school leaver, has used Facebook and Twitter to encourage harassment and ridicule of everyone from Muslims, businesses, local and overseas celebrities, murder victims and people who have committed suicide as a result of online bullying.
As well as using his own personal Facebook, which has more than 300,000 "friends", to push nasty crusades, Mr Barker is also a ringleader of Facebeef, a Facebook group page with 43,000 "likes".
In an exclusive interview, Mr Barker admitted to causing havoc online while high on energy drinks and prescription drugs.
"I would consider myself an entertainer," he boasted.
Cyber-safety specialist and former police officer Susan McLean said: "He would have to be Australia's most prolific (web bully). He has no concept of common decency and is a blight on society."
Melbourne detective Rodney Andrew confirmed an investigation was focused on an online campaign Mr Barker spearheaded last year that targeted Royal Hair Extensions.
It is alleged Mr Barker had his online fans harass the company's owner, Melissa Meitz, when she was running an online contest.
She was bombarded with threatening messages.
The officer said "the offence (being investigated) is stalking, under new legislation that came in a couple of years ago . . . it is a continuing investigation".
Mr Barker attained notoriety last year after targeting pop star Nicki Minaj's Facebook page with an abusive rant that attracted more than 100,000 "likes".
In another rant, Mr Barker called on his followers to harass Muslim families by making prank phone calls.
Followers of Mr Barker made similar calls at his request.
He said most of his Facebook followers were youngsters and he was a celebrity in their eyes.
"I see kids follow me and I think, 'How far can I rope this kid in and make them be a mockery'," he said