A man aged 20-year-old was shot to death during a “prank” robbery. The act was staged and was being recorded to be put on YouTube. The incident took place on Friday night in Tennesse.
Timothy Wilks was shot and killed in a parking lot at Urban Air on Old Hickory Boulevard in Hermitage, according to a news release from the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department.
Detectives were told Wilks and another person were participating in a “prank” robbery as part of a YouTube video. They approached a group of people, including the shooter, with butcher knives.
The shooter, a man aged 23-years-old, informed the police that he wasn’t aware of the robbery being a prank and shot Wilks in self defense. No charges have been filed and the investigation is ongoing.
Netizens took to Twitter to mourn the loss and warn people about the repurcussions of doing cheap stunts for publicity.
Robbery "prank videos" are relatively common on YouTube. They sometimes involve fake firearms, masks or getaway vehicles, which can lead to devastating or fatal consequences. Some of these prank videos have garnered millions of views.
However, most of these videos are either staged or fake, with participants willing to paratake in the prank, leading to little or no consciences.
On the 1st of May 2019, YouTube shared a video outlining its content policy, titled, "Harmful or Dangerous Content Policy: YouTube Community Guidelines"
As the informative video explains, content that encourages illegal or dangerous activities will not be allowed on Youtube. Although pranks that endanger individuals/bystanders, such as fake robberies, are included in that, such videos still very much exist.
YouTube's Most Twisted Genre
Despite multiple fatalities and having left several scarred for life, the catchphrase "It's just a prank, bro" is still alive and well. The phrase has been etched into online culture, and has allowed internet celebrities to dismiss criticism for years.
Most fans who try to enact or recreate these potentially dangerous pranks don't realize that most of these pranksters on YouTube make scripted videos. While the pranks may seem spontaneous, most have been rehearsed and are scripted.
What started as a playful trend on YouTube has morphed into something dangerous and fatal. Innocent pranks, such as airhorns under cushions, which were once used to garner views, have now been replaced with more sinister plots.
While YouTube cannot be held directly responsible for the actions of other individuals, its slow response to such videos has ensured that dangerous prank videos will continue to flood its platform, negatively inspiring future generations.