By: Tiffany Ditto
The old days of hoping the news media publicize your serial killings so that you can rise to fame are over. Now social media is helping criminals, even killers, rise to fame and gain notoriety.
The most recent of these, is Facebook Killer Steve Stephens, 37, who walked up to 74-year-old Robert Goodwin Sr. and fatally shot him on a sidewalk in Cleveland, Ohio—all while streaming the event on Facebook Live.
The video exploded on social media causing outrage among millions of Americans, and an entire country to be on the look out for one man. Though Stephens killed himself after briefly being pursued by police, he is not the only one who has used social media to openly commit crimes and gain fame.
Earlier this year, four people in Chicago faced accusations of torturing and kidnapping an elderly man after they allegedly shared video on the incident on Facebook.
In April of 2016, two teenage girls in the United Kingdom were sentenced to life in prison without eligibility for parole until they had served at least 15 years after torturing a woman to death for nine hours, and posted the entire thing on Snapchat. The Snapchat videos showed the woman sustaining more than 100 injuries during the attack.
In 2013 two teenage boys in Steubenville, Ohio were convicted of rape after photos and videos of an unconscious teenage girl was posted on social media, and the duo talked about the rape in a public YouTube video, according to USA TODAY.
While this behavior is gruesome to watch, in some ways criminals are making police officer’s jobs easier by posting a mountain of evidence online.
But the impacts real world violence on social media will have on today’s youth is the biggest issue. In a society where anyone can commit a violent act, and gain fame by posting it on their social account, we may see an uptake in violent crime on social media.
It’s important for the public to remember that these people are not superstars, and acknowledge that today’s youth can become desensitized by the images they see online.
It is a fine line between the world we live in, and that of Panem (the dystopian universe in the Hunger Games series).