Justin Bieber has come under fire for some controversial tactics which has seen him urge fans to use a VPN in order to push his newest single to number one.

If you’ve not been paying attention to the world of pop music, you may have missed the news that Justin Bieber recently released ‘Yummy’, his first solo single in three years.

While the so-far misguided publicity trail has seen the Canadian singer inexplicably share images of babies with a caption of “yummy”, he’s now come under fire for his latest campaign.

As Genius reports, Bieber is currently doing his best to ensure that ‘Yummy’ tops the charts in the US. Currently, the track has reached #8 in Australia, reached #2 in New Zealand, and is yet to crack into the Billboard Hot 100 in the US.

However, the singer recently shared a (since-deleted) step-by-step guide in order to advise fans on how best to get ‘Yummy’ to #1.

While it features normal tactics (including purchasing it multiple times on iTunes, and linking and streaming the video on YouTube), the post also sees Bieber going deeper, offering fans tips on how to game the system on Spotify.

“Create a playlist with ‘Yummy’ on repeat and stream it,” the post urges. “Don’t mute it! Play at a low volume and let it play while you sleep.

“If you are not from the US you can download a VNP [sic] app, set the VPN to US. and then create a Spotify account.”

Check out Justin Bieber’s since-deleted post:

For those unaware of the concept, a VPN is a virtual private network, and is used a method for users to mask their IP addresses. In this case, the advantage of users outside the US masking their IP address would mean that their streams of the song would count as US-based plays and theoretically help get ‘Yummy’ across the line in terms of chart performance.

Of course, while this sort of behaviour is effectively cheating, it’s not the first time we’ve seen it occur. In fact, 2018 saw Apple reveal they were investigating sales of Chinese singer Kris Wu’s debut album after an “abnormally high-volume of sales” flooded the charts.

In the end, Scooter Braun – who also serves as Justin Bieber’s manager – weighed in to explain that he had met with Wu, and learned that the Chinese release of the record was held back to coincide with the singer’s birthday, meaning that his fans utilised VPNs as a means of hearing the record as soon as it was available.

In a statement offered up to GeniusBillboard explained that “Nielsen/MRC Data and its data providers, including streaming services, have systems in place to prevent fans, record labels, artists and others from attempting to rig chart performance, including the usage of VPN accounts to generate the appearance of U.S.-based data.”

Although the behaviour isn’t explicitly banned outright, it’s certainly jarring to see an artist – especially one of Bieber’s status – taking to social media in order to give fans tips on how to game the system. The post has since been taken down from Bieber’s account, and he’s made no comment regarding its content.

Check out ‘Yummy’ by Justin Bieber: