#Opinion

Gauravzone Animal Cruelty Case: Where Does Fun Stop And Crime Begin On Social Media?

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The Gauravzone animal cruelty case brings to light the far-reaching, often dangerous, reaches of social media and its use. To what extent are we ready to go, in a bid to provide and seek entertainment? What brand of merrymaking are we normalising on the internet? Are we gradually, but surely, desensitising ourselves to criminal activities?

And most importantly, can law fasten its screws on derangement enough to ensure the online space doesn’t become a breeding ground for crime?

It’s hard to argue that the internet hasn’t already become that. Reports abound daily of women receiving rape threats, photos of underage persons circulating unchecked, videos of sexual assault being passed around as casually as ‘good morning’ forwards. There’s already a lot that goes on and more that needs to be penalised.

But for content creators, with large followings and corresponding influence, to resort to cruelty for likes and views? That’s a whole other ballgame.

Let’s Make Dollar Fly: Animal Cruelty In The Name Of Entertainment?

Gaurav Sharma, and his mother, thought it was a good idea to make their pet pooch Dollar “fly” with balloons. The now-deleted video caused immediate outrage among netizens and animal rights activists who demanded his arrest. Both mother and son were booked Thursday for animal cruelty.

The pandemic-induced lockdowns have got us all scraping the bottom of the barrel in search of something to do. But to go as low as this? To elicit laughs, or perhaps endearment, from viewers at the exploitative expense of another being? By treating a pet like a plaything on display?

It is now, unfortunately, not uncommon for content creators to adopt extreme, brute means of stockpiling fame. Remember YouTuber Logan Paul who, in 2018, filmed and shared the video of a suicide victim’s body in Japan to 15 million subscribers? Or Indian influencers like CarryMinati or Flying Beast who don’t flinch perforating their humour with sexism?

The raging popularity of social media trends – accelerated further now through newer, faster content on Instagram reels and TikTok – prompts questions: Where do our boundaries lie? What fuels the making of exploitative content? Is it reflective of what audience interests have become? And what makes us look away at the discomfort it causes to others, especially those who can’t fend for themselves?

Views expressed are the author’s own.