In May of 2015, Dominyk Alfonseca went to a bank in Virginia Beach, Virginia. During this time, Alfonseca walked up to a teller and handed her a note asking for money. During this time, Alfonseca recorded the entire incident and posted it onto instagram. His reason for committing a bank robbery: getting more followers on instagram.
Fast forward to June of 2017. 22-year old Pedro Ruiz and 19-year old Monalisa Perez are looking for a way to get YouTube famous and gain more followers on Social Media. So they came up with a stunt: that Perez would shoot a Desert Eagle from a foot away from Ruiz while he was holding up an Encyclopedia at chest level. The objective was simple: the bullet that comes out of the gun would be stopped by the Encyclopedia. They decided to film the stunt and the bullet shot by Perez went through the Encyclopedia and pierced Ruiz in the chest. He died on the scene.
Ruiz’s aunt, Claudia, mentioned she tried talking her Nephew, Pedro, out of doing such crazy antics, especially using a gun in a stunt. Pedro said he was going to do it because they wanted to have more viewers and to have their claim to fame.
What were the results of both of these two who desired the want for “more followers”? Alfonseca was sentenced to ten years in prison (seven years and one month are suspended). Perez pled guilty to second degree manslaughter where she will have six months in jail, ten years of supervised probation, and cannot profit off of the video that shows Ruiz’s death.
Where do we draw the line for gaining social media followers? Should these social media companies take responsibility for the actions of others, as they profit off many of these “aspiring” social media wannabe stars? Why do wannabes infatuate over the concept of committing extreme acts of deviancy for a follower on their YouTube Page or Instagram account?