In recent years, we have watched helplessly as notorious criminals, posing as community leaders, artists and revolutionaries, surge on social media. But in reality, they are using online strategies to get a little closer to the people. They pose as part of the “victims”. While they have been culprit of rape, steal, kidnap and torture members in the community.
Among those bandits who have managed to have a social media presence, we can mention Jimmy Chérizier aka Barbecue, the leader of the terrorist cell “G9 e Alye”, Ti Lapli who is the leader of the Grand Ravin gang, Lanmò 100 Jou leader of the 400 Mawozo gang and the most popular of all Izo from the Five Seconds gang, who caused a stir in the Haitian Music Industry (HMI) by portraying as a rapper. Their videos are watched by dozens of Facebook and YouTube members. They often take advantage of this to increase their audience. Their activities have become one of their streams of income generated from YouTube, and have been the headlines amongst young independent journalists and whistleblowers.
When a YouTube clip emerges from gang activity, we should be aware that based on their ratings, which their channel has, they get paid for it, especially when their videos become qualified to run ads every commercial break. Often more than others, their activities and videos of these gangs and bandits are embellished. They always make shocking and sensationalist claims to feed their YouTube channel.
Lisez cet article en français: Pourquoi est-ce si important de Signaler les activités des bandits sur les réseaux sociaux?
People should also know that some journalists that deal with reporting on their gang’s activities receive money each time they have to go to the press conferences with these gang leaders. This stems from personal interest, as they have been incentivized for the transportation costs of these presses. Which could be described as this inverse connection to the fact that these monetary activities could be bribes.
People need to understand that young people particularly from the lower-class neighborhoods have a liking to these criminals and see them as stars, role models to follow, idols, and develop a certain aggressiveness of retaliation if they hear anyone criticizes them. Gang leaders succeeded at influencing the behavior of others through their behavioral patterns and their rules and the conduct of themselves. A majority part of the population is indoctrinated either by manipulation or by bribes. That is why it is so easy for a criminal like Lanmò 100 Jou to swell his ranks every time the police kill a member of his gang. His activities on social media have contributed to the increase in his popularity.
People are encouraged to boycott platforms that do not promptly ban them from having a source of income with their online crimes.
What can we do as ordinary citizens to curb the notoriety of gang members on the web?
As informed citizens, there is a duty to report (file a complaint) of any video or audio that promotes crime.
Whether it is an artist like Shassy, Marco from Barikad Crew, Roodyman who decided to go live with Izo even for five seconds, or YouTube channels that show press conference videos from Barbecue, Lanmò 100 Jou, Ti Lapli, videos that praise their crime, need to be reported. Whoever you are, it is a right as a person in that society, a parental duty, pastor, spiritualist, community leader, influencers to report them.
It is sealed and confidential to make a report. That is, the social network will not notify the owner of the video of who you are. When a person reports a video or photo, it does not necessarily mean it will be removed. But if several dozen people report a video of suspicious or terrorist activity, an investigation will be opened to see if it does not in fact comply with the Internal Regulations.
YouTube does not allow terrorist organizations to use YouTube for any purpose, including recruitment. “We also prohibit the distribution on YouTube of content that glorifies terrorism, such as content that glorifies terrorist acts or incites violence”.
The rules of use of Meta (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp) prohibit incitement to hatred, threats and gratuitous violence. However, there is an exception for contextualized shocking content: for example, a person can post a video showing violence if they wish to denounce it. “We remove explicit images when shared out of sadism, or to celebrate or glorify violence.“This statement has been found in the section of Rules and Regulations from the Facebook platform.
Ou ka li atik sa an kreyòl tou: Poukisa li enpòtan pou nou denonse aktivite bandi yo sou rezo sosyal yo?
In October 2020, Twitter claimed there was no place on the network for violent organizations, including terrorist organizations and violent extremist groups, or individuals affiliated with them who promote their illicit activities. “Our assessments under this policy are based on official national and international lists of terrorist organizations, as well as our criteria for identifying violent extremist groups and violent organizations” notes the Twitter platform.
TikTok, meanwhile, notes that it does not allow individuals or organizations on its platform that promote or engage in violence. “We expel these individuals and organizations, including mass murderers, serial killers and rapists, hate groups, criminal organizations, terrorist organizations and other non-state armed groups that target civilians.”
For now, the tools to curb the manipulation of Haitian gangs on social networks exist. All it takes is a little willpower and common sense to prevent others from falling victim to their act.
Translated by Moise Lena Jean Louis
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