Many have assured that 2023 is going to be a great year, having said goodbye to 2022 with the news that the Romanian police have arrested the former boxer and ‘streamer’ Andrew Tate and his brother Tristan, investigated for alleged crimes such as the constitution of an organized criminal group, human trafficking and rape, thanks to Greta Thunberg. The British mocked the young activist on Twitter in some images in which he appeared surrounded by pizza boxes from a well-known pizzeria at home in Bucharest, a detail that apparently was key for the police authorities to find the whereabouts of he. “This is what happens when you don’t recycle your pizza boxes,” Thunberg replied sarcastically and very bad milk (oatmeal, we assume). We know: by now it is very possible that you already knew this news, but what we want to analyze today is how social networks have become a kind of Cluedo.
In the Mark Lewis documentary, ‘Don’t Fuck With Cats’, A group of amateur internet detectives joined forces (and their obsession) to track down a cat killer who began by sharing his atrocities on video and ended up killing a person. It seems that criminals are also craving their 15 minutes of fame today, while in the past, for obvious reasons, they preferred to act in the shadows… This documentary showed that any video or image uploaded to the networks can be used to dismantle crimes, and That is why today we are witnessing the rise of true crime podcasts, a trend that is the starting point of ‘Only murders in the building’, the series by Selena Gomez that explores from comedy how each of us is becoming detectives private. We are talking about a phenomenon that actually has little innovation. After all, we’ve been watching for so long shows like CSI or programs like Imperfect Crimes that sometimes make me wonder if we are not being instructed to commit the crime without loose ends… “The idea of the obsession with Internet surveillance is not new. From the safety of our living room, we can spot amazing things, and lots of people are doing it,” explained Mark Lewis.
“Everything starts without you noticing. You enter the profile of that friend you haven’t seen since you were 12 years old and you end up doing an entire x-ray of the lives of all your high school classmates simply jumping from Instagram post to post ( or if you’re a millennial, from Facebook). ‘Homeland’, congratulations: you are also an internet detective. It’s a bug that doesn’t bite everyone, but when it bites it hits hard,” explains Estela Cebrián, from the ‘Las Amigas Estupendas’ podcast.
“Whoever is an early user of Twitter will remember the disappearance of Marina Joyce. In 2016, this British youtuber stopped uploading videos overnight and was missing for ten days. Her followers began to remember how in the days before they saw her strange in her videos, she no longer smiled, she was not so happy, she had bruises in her arms. Her videos were analyzed frame by frame, every corner of her room mattered in case she was hiding a key. The flow of theories and comments was incessant. Marina ended up showing up, she was fine, but those of us who experienced it in real time remember that general anguish… and shared. Something similar happened with Britney Spears. During the last years of her guardianship, her dances, her smeared mascara, if she left encrypted messages were analyzed and from that concern the #FreeBritney movement was born, “says Cebrián.
“True crime puts us in front of our most primal fears (with a good dose of morbidity, things as they are) and social networks allow us to be part of the mystery, but from a distance and with the possibility of quenching the thirst for adrenaline and emotion without danger. There are people who do bungee jumping, and others who find satisfaction investigating a cat killer on the internet”, concludes Estela Cebrián.
The Kardashians, from their privileged bubble and Mugler clothes, seem to live outside of magnifying glasses and DNA tests, and that is why when last year, in the month of December, kim kardashian posted pictures of his daughter Chicago and niece True (Khloé’s daughter) at Disneyland, the internet fan investigation team found some suspicious details in the photos. The pressure was such that Khloé had to say on Twitter, simply, that she had “screwed up”. But the Colombo online were not satisfied and Kim Kardashian had to confess later what had really happened. “This needs some serious explaining… Well, you know I’m all aesthetic. And my Instagram grid is pink and blue lately. It’s so pretty and well planned! The original photos were of Stormi! However, I asked to Kylie Jenner if he could post them and he told me he didn’t feel like doing it right now, which I completely respect. But I wasn’t going to ruin my Instagram feed. Chi was dressed in pink and it matched perfectly. It was not the aesthetic she was looking for and I can admit it. You know how much a good aesthetic means to my soul and I’d be damned if Kylie messed up my IG feed. So thanks, True, for taking one for the team. I didn’t think it was so bad that her own mother questioned whether she was sneaking her to a Disneyland for the first time.” That is to say: the sisters had tried to cover up their innocent little lies, but if cotton doesn’t deceive (if you’re from generation Z, you will not understand this advertising wink, and I envy you for it), the Kardashians and the networks, either.
The reason why Kim had to raise her voice? The networks and this sudden vocation of investigators that ends (and herein lies the danger) in romanticizing the crimes. Many people forget that behind every murder or scam there are real people, and as if that were not enough, social networks offer fans of this type of content the infinite possibility of participating. It is the case ofto influencer Gabrielle Petito, that on a road trip with her fiancé, she disappeared, arousing the interest of (fake) online detectives who tried to solve the crime. The surprising thing is that one of them, it seems, was really vital in finding the whereabouts of his corpse… However, we must also balance the weight of the digital trial that starts immediately, because after After the networks claimed that her fiancé was responsible for her death, she disappeared and was later found dead.
for his part Modesto Garcia He has revolutionized the networks with his illustrated crimes on social networks, which have ended up being collected in the book ‘Illustrated Crimes’. “The most viral social media game is finally in book format from its creator, the tweetstar Modesto García. The time has come to become the protagonist of your crime novels and thriller favourites”, reads the book.
The good thing about this detective fever is that a debate has finally started around the so-called “Missing White Woman Syndrome” that was born as a result of the media interest aroused by the case of Gabrielle Petito (something that does not happen when the victims are not Caucasian), and due to the fact that many pointed out that in cases in which the victims belong to the collective LGBTIQI+, the police take a rather easygoing or even dismissive stance.
For their part, celebrities are so aware of the power of the networks and their unlicensed researchers that every time they upload an image, they analyze it down to the millimeter so that there is not a detail in a pixel that arouses controversy or contradicts their future discourses. The real question, therefore, is whether this detective surveillance 3.0 has turned us into detectives or into people who consider each post out of fear that hypervigilance with the air of a detective can trigger it.
In the same way that on some occasions we find ourselves “bodegonizing” our existence (have you not experienced the mythical moment on New Year’s Eve in which you ask your uncle Paco to remove the plastic bottle from the table to take an overhead photograph of the tray? of prawns?), now we are afraid that any detail in our networks could be a reason for cancellation or in extreme cases, jail… Has the digital universe given us a license to investigate or to fear?