By now you’ve surely heard about the tragic events in Norway over the weekend, involving the deaths of over 90 people after a bombing and a shooting. A video attributed to the alleged mastermind of the attacks was uploaded to YouTube, and explained the man’s twisted reasons. YouTube has since pulled the clip, but that hasn’t stopped the scammers of the computer world from turning the public appetite for information about the tragedy to their own advantage.
In fact, a new Facebook virus has already affected over a million people, and is said to be infecting one person per second. The link, purporting to show footage of the actual bomb explosion in Oslo, instead infects the computers of those who dare to click—and also apparently then reposts the link on the victim’s Facebook wall.
The virus’ spread speaks to how wreckless Facebook users can be in clicking Wall links, but perhaps more importantly, to how video has become the go-to content variety of choice for news-seekers.
The public has a strange obsession with disaster-related footage. Call it morbid curiosity if you will. And it often leads them to trouble, especially in such an online-video-obsessed culture. The scammers of the world—who clearly have no conscience whatsoever, prey on the public’s desire for footage of breaking world news events.
It’s a problem that’s only going to grow as we move forward. Online video is rapidly becoming the single best resource for breaking news, as evidenced by events like last winter’s East Coast blizzard in the U.S., the Alabama tornado outbreak, or the Vancouver riots. Whenever world news breaks from here forward, online video will play a huge role in how people seek out and find the information they need.
In the case of the most recent world news event—the tragedy in Norway—might I suggest that instead of manifesto videos or clips of the explosion and its aftermath, we gravitate toward a video that is just as newsworthy.