Going viral: When YouTube stunts turn deadly

Monalisa Perez as well as Pedro RuizImage copyright

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“They were in love, they loved each additional,” Pedro Ruiz’s aunt said of the aspiring YouTubers

Monalisa Perez, 19, as well as her boyfriend Pedro Ruiz, 22, wanted to be famous on YouTube.

yet until a dramatic stunt on 26 June involving a gun as well as a hardcover book in which left Pedro dead, there was little indication in their videos how far they were prepared to go in order to attain online celebrity.

The couple coming from the US state of Minnesota had been uploading videos for less than two months documenting their everyday lives.

Though they had filmed some minor pranks – Monalisa dusting a donut with baby powder before feeding the item to Pedro, for example – they seemed relatively harmless.

In one video filmed in a hospital, they learn their fresh baby can be going to be a boy.

“Imagine when we have 300,000 subscribers,” Monalisa pondered in a video uploaded at a fun fair on the day Pedro was killed. “People will be like ‘oh my god, hi!'”

today she faces a second-degree manslaughter charge over a reckless stunt in which was said to be her boyfriend’s idea to boost their profile. She fired a Desert Eagle handgun coming from close range, as he held an encyclopaedia in front of his chest.

He had experimented previously as well as thought the thick book could protect him, yet the couple’s three-year-old child as well as nearly 30 onlookers watched as she fired a fatal bullet.

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She told police the stunt had been Ruiz’s idea, as well as in which he had to convince her to do the item

Since YouTube launched in 2005, the item has attracted people willing to do things on camera for a slice of minor online fame.

yet in 2012, the company made the item easier for contributors to obtain a chunk of the advertising revenue they generate coming from videos. Studios were created as well as grants given out to groom a stable of stars who need to make fresh, compelling content to keep the clicks – as well as advertising dollars – rolling in.

They are often media personalities in their own right, with agents as well as slickly produced videos.

Hundreds of thousands of others, like the Minnesota couple, sit below them as well as are trying to gather followings. Many have little success.

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yet the rewards of becoming one of the few who make the item big can be a huge motivation to keep trying. (According to Forbes, the top 12 highest-earning YouTube stars made a combined $70.5m coming from June 2015 – June 2016.)

as well as while stunts are merely one genre of an extremely diverse landscape of videos made by YouTubers – coming from cooking to comedy as well as music to beauty – they do get millions of views.

‘Most horrific I’ve seen’

Dr Arthur Cassidy, a British psychologist specialising in social media, says videos of dangerous stunts can inspire teenage copycats who “haven’t got the cognitive function to figure out This specific could be very fatal”.

“the item’s perceived as being ‘fun’ or ‘exciting’ or ‘high-risk’. Anything in which can be high risk can be intriguing, gets adrenaline going as well as sets up highly competitive game playing within the fraternity of late adolescence.”

yet what the Minnesota couple tried to film can be “one of the most horrific cases” he has come across.

Fears in which young people watching coming from home could try the item, yet which has a less powerful weapon to see if the item could work, are “salient as well as highly profound”, Dr Cassidy says.

Social crazes

Doing dangerous things for online attention can be nothing fresh.

In 2011, Australian Acton Beale fell to his death after trying to “plank” on the balcony of a seventh floor flat in Brisbane.

The planking craze – which involved people lying down straight-bodied in unusual, yet mostly safe, places – was largely confined to still images uploaded to Facebook.

yet the Australian case signalled how a growing internet “stunt” culture for attention could lead to tragedy, as well as since then several online trends have reportedly caused deaths worldwide.

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Alexander Chernikov

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Russian Alexander Chernikov set his trousers on fire before jumping into snow. Video of the stunt went viral

Of course, YouTube has no borders, as well as stunt videos coming from anywhere can go viral globally.

Russia’s Inner surface Ministry recently launched a “safe selfie” campaign in response to a growing local culture of amateur daredevils filming their stunts.

In one video watched by millions of people, Alexander Chernikov lights his trousers on fire as well as jumps off a nine-storey building into the snow.

These kinds of stunts make the antics of TV pranksters coming from a pre-YouTube era, like those of the MTV reality show Jackass, seem tame.

Critics say in which YouTube, owned by Google, needs to do more to take down videos of extremely dangerous stunts.

The company said the item was “horrified to learn of the tragedy in Minnesota” as well as in which its thoughts were with the family. No video of the incident can be believed to have been uploaded.

A spokesperson told the BBC in which the item removes content flagged by users in which breaks its rules.

Its policy on harmful as well as dangerous content says the item draws the line at content “in which intends to incite violence or encourage dangerous or illegal activities in which have an inherent risk of serious physical harm or death”.

Examples of what could be banned include videos depicting “bomb producing, choking games, hard drug use, or additional acts where serious injury may result”.

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