Staff Editorial 1/26 Obsession with views results fatality after Tide Pod Challenge goes viral

With a world revolving around social media and viral videos, people will go out of the way to get their post the most likes, views or retweets.

At first, harmless stunts like the Cinnamon Challenge and Planking filled up the internet. Although stupid, the various challenges and pranks performed in order to garner views and like were tolerated and even enjoyed, for after all, no real harm could come out of it.

Eating cinnamon, however, is not comparable to eating laundry detergent. The Tide Pod Challenge reached viral levels on the internet after memes peaked individuals curiosity and enticed them to eat the product for attention.

Tide had to release a public service announcement to explain to people that they should not eat laundry detergent, something that should be common knowledge. Poison Control also informed of reports of fatalities as a result of consumption. The challenge should serve as an example to all that there are some things you just should not “do for the Vine.”

While the internet has its undeniable advantages, individuals’ unrestricted access to and ability to post certain content can go too far. These challenges are destroying lines defining what is socially acceptable and intelligent all for the extra like or view.

Recently, popular Youtuber Logan Paul posted a video where he encountered a man who had recently commited suicide. To post this video is irresponsible, insensitive and selfish. Paul’s video sent the internet into an outrage; however, the video, despite only being up for two days, reached over five million views in its short tenure. It is instances like this and the Tide Pod Challenge that encourage people’s stupidity. It justifies not thinking before posting something.

The worst part, however, is even though these videos are cruel and fatal, people do not care. They see others on social media racking up retweets and likes and say, “If he did it, why can’t I?” What people are lacking is perspective. People on the internet today are obsessed with views and followers, but that should not be what is important. Their obsession with popularity and fame is what drives all of those people who see a meme about Tide Pods on Twitter to set up a camera and film themselves eating it or to film a dead man as a “joke.”

This is disgusting and should not be tolerated. Even with Youtube and Twitter’s efforts to keep these videos off of their platform, they are still watched by thousands and even millions. While most agree that the creator is at fault for making and posting the video, it is Youtube and other social media sites need to take action in recognizing inappropriate or dangerous content, perhaps by seeing something along the lines of “eating tide pods” in the title or description, and preventing it from being posted. Yes, social media platforms have made the efforts to regulate these videos. Facebook made the attempt after a live video broadcasted a man being murdered in Cleveland back in April. Even so, these efforts have not been ineffective in stopping Tide Pod videos and Logan Paul’s of the world.

The responsibility, however, does not only lie with social media companies. We, as viewers, have progressed since Youtube’s creation in 2005, moving from watching videos with light-hearted humor, like a baby named Charlie biting another baby’s finger to the content that trends nowadays showcasing people injuring and killing themselves and other people for views.

We, as consumers and users of social media, have the responsibility to have a taste in videos we watch and post. By watching, we add fuel to the fire and encourage creators to continue posting the idiotic content they have been. By posting, we set a standard for what is appropriate for the internet. The result is a space in which we push our bodies to the limit, doing things we otherwise never would. While pushing the limit in certain contexts is beneficial, when that context is eating laundry detergent, it is not only a bad idea, it is fatal.

Do not eat Tide Pods for views.  Do not post videos with dead bodies for likes. The fact that things like this have to even be said is an unsettling assessment of how our society thinks and what it finds humorous.