If there’s one thing that enrages the Facebook masses and gets messages flying with rage it is the disturbing viral or pictures’ of animal cruelty.
Facebook followers respond to viral in their thousands calling for justice for the individual or more likely the removal of their genitalia or call for the death penalty for individuals like this. Often the post will ask for people to share the images on the internet so that the individuals can either be caught or more likely as the case to cause every reader to comment on how they would like to treat these perpetrators of cruelty.
I recently witnessed two that have been on Facebook: “GIRL THROWS PUPPIES INTO THE RIVER”, and another depicting a man holding a dog against a wall with the title “MAN PUNCHES DOG AND BURIES IT – PLEASE SHARE”
Abhorrent as the pictures are; upon closer examination you often find that some of these pictures that people ask to share among the social media followers are often a few years old and that the people involved often (but perhaps not always) have been caught by their relevant police authorities and many of them already have been prison sentences varying under the judicial sentencing imposed in their respective countries or states.
The Chilean soldier in question who worked for an embassy in Chile seen in the photo to hit his dog was given a prison sentence and dishonorably discharged from duty and banned from ever owning an animal.
The girl shown viral throwing six puppies into a river was left unpunished because of her age, according to reports. Animal welfare groups reacted furiously to the decision, which was described as “outrageous” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/bosnia/8045517/Girl-who-threw-puppies-into-river-escapes-unpunished.html)
The question I asked myself was not only why the images in still circulation? But more importantly, what is the psychological impact of these images on people?
Obviously they provoke disgust and outrage, but when an image is old but still in circulation a person viewing that image still may believe there is a need to seek some justice and often the image is re-shared countless times until the Facebook, Google Circles, Bebo, MySpace and other followers point out that the image is outdated.
The other side of this is that the companies that offer the viral obviously still have these video clips on their sites (YouTube for instance), and this is often with reactions to the videos or the videos themselves with comments of the outcome. So one might ask oneself is therefore any use still having the video viral still on these too – do they serve to help having the videos of people committing crimes long after those people have been caught.
Perhaps with any form of abuse or crime having a historical account of the crime is helpful as they are a reminder to the person that they will always be remembered for that crime and I’m sure that long after they’ve spent their respective times incarcerated that there is always that reminder online reminding anyone (employers, landlords, friends and family for example) of the crime and abuse they committed.
Obviously when a video viral or image of abuse is recent, then if it appears in the public social media domain (attacks on individuals, animals etc) then when it does viral it does cause the masses to hunt the criminal or necessitate information on those involved to the relevant police authorities and social media is brilliant at finding those people be brought to justice. Someone, somewhere invariably knows the person as it goes viral, recognises a dialect or accent and eventually one hopes the individual in question is caught.
However I also noted that some of the images that are asking people to share them are also actual Hoaxes too – these also fly around the social media networks; one common example is where a person may find an image of a soldier from perhaps an image on the internet (Google Images for example) and then concoct a story that’s relays some sad story of how they were attacked by a mob of youths or perhaps how a certain ethnic group is getting more money on benefits than that ‘disabled, war hero’ thus creating anger either towards ethnic races or groups within society at large, all fictitious created through using imagery and imaginative story telling.
This is so common I understand that there are a number of sites that exist to unmask the Facebook Hoaxes from real evidential stories posted on Facebook one of which is the www.hoax-slayer.com and http://www.thatsnonsense.com/facebook.php sites which does serve well to differentiate the fact from the fiction.
However it must be psychologically damaging though to wake up and see an image that implores the individual to write how they would like to kill the persons and the relevant photo-takers of crimes (some real, or some fake) as they sip their coffee and then head into their cars to go to work?