The price of going viral: How creators are jeopardizing their freedom for views and likes

Nwakaego Okoye, often known as Ego online, wasn’t a particularly popular TikToker. She did, however, have a little microphone and used it to provide her neo-insider commentary on celebrity culture, former Big Brother housemates, and any other news that was popular on her TikTok For You page.

 

She leveled several accusations against the actress Eniola Badmus a few weeks ago. She claimed that she had seen the actress behave in a manner reminiscent of the character she portrayed in her breakthrough role in the popular Jenifa Diaries. Before her own eyes, the actress allegedly tried to shill for her friend. She claimed to have reliable information that the actress had exchanged financial advantages for sexual favors.

 

She had lied.

 

In an interview with the radio host Daddy Freeze, the actress Eniola Badmus said that she had contacted the author and urged her to remove the post or at the very least show proof of the accusations. Badmus claims she reprimanded her. Eniola Badmus promised to file a lawsuit against Nwakaego Okoye in exchange.

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A few days later, Ego furiously uploaded videos of herself to social media, claiming that Eniola Badmus and the police were outside her house. She begged her supporters for assistance.

 

There was no assistance.

 

A few weeks later, she was given a three-year prison term or a N150,000 fine by a judge. Since then, she has made it known that she made the postings in exchange for cash and lied to gain social media prominence.

 

Ego swiftly sprang to prominence as the most recent example of the dangers of going viral. She had been found guilty of cyberstalking Badmus by the court.

 

Young influencers have posted extreme content to go viral on TikTok, which has emerged as the newest social media channel for young Nigerians trying to go viral, sometimes resulting in their arrest.

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Maruf Abdullahi, or Trinity Guy as he is sometimes known, was arrested in June for a video in which he repeatedly questioned a ten-year-old girl about the color of his genitalia. Trinity Guy was formerly a rapidly growing skit maker known for his outrageous pranks and lashed out on particularly ladies who didn’t take his pranks well.

 

Following reaction on social media, the TikToker has since apologized for advocating paedophilia in a tweet he published.

 

When a NYSC member’s TikTok video of a student he claimed would “destroy men” went viral, there was outrage on social media from people who felt the post was sexualizing youngsters.

 

The video in which the content producers—who go by Simigo and Ezebueze—fantasized about raping a 2-year-old child drew harsh criticism in April. They have also expressed regret for the joke.

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The entertainment industry has recently moved away from humorous cat videos and toward extreme sports and physical assault for platforms that reward virality.

 

While there has been criticism against these TikTokers, the recent instance of Ego has brought up fresh concerns about freedom of expression in a nation where government organizations occasionally violate these rights.

 

However, the contentious CyberCrime Prohibition Act of 2015 opens the door for this kind of enforcement. The statute states that in recent years, entertainment content has moved away from amusing cat videos and toward excessive physical activity for platforms that reward virality.

 

While there has been criticism against these TikTokers, the recent instance of Ego has brought up fresh concerns about freedom of expression in a nation where government organizations occasionally violate these rights.

 


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