When It Comes To Making A Viral Video, There Are Lines That You Can’t Cross
We live in a time where having a lot of social media fans can give you a money-making platform, and posting content that has a shock factor gives it shareable appeal, which means more fans! Internet challenges like the cinnamon challenge, the duct tape challenge, and certain cases of the ALS ice bucket challenge showed that, while entertaining, some people can take it a step too far in pursuit of that perfect viral video.
For British YouTube account “Trollstation,” it’s their elaborate pranks that racked them up an impressive 718,000 followers on the tube site. Many of their videos are playful in theme, like the one pictured above where they surprised London Tube riders with a surprise strip club.
The group’s goal is basically to ruffle some feathers, and push the boundaries of what’s socially acceptable to create a buzz. But after their last couple of stunts, what started out as a harmless ploy for viral attention turned into a serious crime that landed five of the group’s members in jail.
Now I’ve got your attention, eh?
Keep Reading to find out how these bold viral video makers landed themselves behind bars!
The arrests started in March.
Last year, two incidents occurred in London that had the public on edge. One, a staged kidnapping at the Tate Britain museum, and the other, a fake painting robbery at London’s National Portrait Gallery, were found to be the responsibility of Trollstation.
What kind of sentence do you get for a fake crime?
For the hoaxes that were staged at the London museums, four Trollstation members – Daniel Jarvis, 27, Helder Gomes, 23, Endrit Ferizolli, 20, and Ebenezer Mensah, 29 – were convicted of “using threatening, abusive, or insulting words or behavior with intent to cause fear of, or provoke unlawful violence,” according to the record from the City of London Magistrate’s Court.
Each members’ sentence varies slightly based on the extremity of their involvement, but all four men received between 16 and 20 weeks in prison for their controversial stunts. That sentence could sound heavy or lightheaded based on where you stand in issues of free speech, but you have to admit that there’s certainly stronger repercussion for something like a robbery or a kidnapping hoax than there is for a video where they hotbox the London Eye with marijuana (pictured).