The internet is a bizarre place – you find everything you need and everything you didn’t know you needed. With the invention of memes, there is a possibility you will be randomly crowned the internet’s ‘next big thing,’ but that fame is fleeting. To be famous on a platform that connects billions requires more effort than usual. Netizens feast on gore owing to their thirst for sensationalism. Quenching this need might just help you get to the top, but at a cost.
A 28-year-old social media influencer from Mumbai was arrested after faking his death. Irfan Khan, popularly known as Iffy Khan, posted a video of a train running him over following his breakup. The edited video, originally posted on Instagram, gained about 44,000 views.
The same video, when posted on Twitter, earned around 300,000 views. This caught the attention of the Indian police who, upon investigation, revealed it was a plot to gain virality. Khan was then charged under section 336 of the Indian Penal Code ‘for committing an act to endanger the lives of others and himself’; section 505 (1) for publishing or circulating statements containing a rumour or alarming news; under the Indian Railways Act for nuisance and trespassing.
In an interview with VICE world news, Khan said, “I made the video for entertainment purposes. It was a mistake. I didn’t mean to encourage people to commit suicide”.
Khan’s childhood friend, Shubham Joshi, said, “He wanted to go viral but didn’t have content to make. He wanted to make a video to raise awareness against suicide, but the one he made was wrong.”
In a second part, Khan intended to portray the whole thing as a dream relaying a message about suicide prevention. However, because of backlash, he had to delete the video.