A viral video of a son crying about being bullied was picked up by mainstream media, provoking more bullying, this time on a world scale, writes Hannah Jane Parkinson

Patience used to be a dignity. Now it’s gold dust. Especially when it comes to mainstream media picking up social media intrigue. I refer you to the story of 11 -year-old Keaton Jones, who croaked viral precisely a couple of days ago after his mother posted a video of him, weeping, explaining how his classmates had bullied him and questioning the purpose of bullying in general.” Why do they find exhilaration in taking innocent people and find a way to be mean to them ?”

Keaton’s mother, Kimberly Jones, posted the video to her personal Facebook page where it assembled more than 22 m opinions. As the video spread around Facebook and Twitter, numerous luminaries( Justin Bieber, Mark Ruffalo, Katy Perry, Snoop Dogg, Patricia Arquette, Chris Evans, Jennifer Lopez, LeBron James, Kendall Jenner among them) offered support efforts to Keaton, either with paroles or words, or Skype chats, or invitations to attend debuts and concerts and er, the Fox News set( because that is what every 11 -year-boy fantasies of ).

Some accused these celebs of “using” Keaton to signal their own pity, but I think that’s a cynic give. The video was genuinely affecting. Though after $55,000 was invoked on a GoFundMe sheet that a stranger supported, I wondered why people weren’t donating to, say, anti-bullying benevolences, or institutions initiatives. Or Yemen. I didn’t really understand how a jam-pack of money would stop Keaton having milk moved down his shirt. But it did sense that the celeb carry might dissuade his antagonists.

The difficulties started when photographs of Keaton’s mother were uncovered on Facebook in which she is smiling and regarding the Confederate flag.( Keaton and his family are based in Tennessee ). Another photo showed Keaton holding a stars-and-stripes pennant and a sidekick viewing the Confederate flag. There was also a upright in which Kimberly Jones took aim at NFL player Colin Kaepernick and other players who have affirmed ethnic inequality by kneeling for the national anthem.

Kimberly has either since removed the video, or cleared it private, after abusive remarks were is directed towards Keaton, and she used called a” money-grabbing racist”( there was surmise she had put up a separate crowdfunding page herself ). Unverified reports too came that Keaton was actually bullied because he had repeatedly applied ethnic epithets against classmates- a claim his sister repudiated. So it was that Keaton disappeared from being bullied by his classmates to being bullied by most of the internet. On Tuesday, Kimberly appeared on CBS News to protest her innocence:” Yesterday he was a hero, today countries around the world dislikes us“, she said, in tears to parallel her son’s.

There are so many issues to parse here it is difficult to know where to begin. There’s an argument that the initial video should have stayed in the realm of social media and not been picked up by mainstream shops at all. But viral floors are often an easy prevail for traditional media struggling for notice online( the Keaton story was the most read on the Guardian’s website when it was published ), and some internet culture fibs are genuinely important to deep-dive into. And in this case, when the personalities picked it up, it became a news item that warranted pamphlet.

The fact that the mother uploaded the video should have perhaps caused some pennants. But more so, reporting that she had stirred prejudiced remarks on an Instagram account, which has since been proved hoax, “shouldve been” checked. It was also reported that Keaton made an apology on behalf of the members of his mother- except that Instagram account was forge very. At my last counting, I could find 15 phony Instagram accounts. It is an obvious tell when the accounts consist of precisely five photographs, all in the public domain( hence why professional troll details go back weeks and months, and in the case of many online Russian actors, years ), but these comments were picked up by information outlets( although not the Guardian ).

The story of Keaton Jones has become the perfect microcosm of mainstream stores producing social media events. Heartwarming social berth; picked up by information stores; major showing; crowdfunding page lay out; social media digging of narration subjects; reaction; much fakery; major show … and so it goes on. As one wag applied it, the Keaton Jones saga is” “the worlds largest” 2017 thing to happen in 2017″.

I don’t know if Keaton’s mum filmed the video as a stunt to raise money or if she is prejudiced( she argued that she constituted next to the flag in an “ironic” time, means to “funny”, as if that they are able to make it ok ), but much of the “evidence” against her has been debunked. Keaton too shouldn’t be held responsible for his mother’s wars. I’ll agree that his sister posing with a 9mm pistol isn’t a particularly good gaze, and I don’t know whether Keaton use the N-word against his classmates, but it shouldn’t be reported without a journalist inconveniencing to find out the truth of it.

When the principal of Keaton’s school was eventually contacted, he said that the bully occurrence had being addressed and didn’t mention any nicknames on his part.

Many of us, including report stores, are becoming aware of forge word when it is of a political sort, but fewer checks and balances seem to be in place when it is necessary to viral feelgood floors( witness multiple heart-tugging storeys on homeless person being debunked ). Perhaps lighthearted uprights that stay in the realm of social media are not worthy of such investigation, but when they are was transformed into bulletin stories, checks should be made, as in the case of important berths on social media( terrorism attacks, political and public interest posts ). It is important too, to be acknowledged that online smearing has become a potent tactic. It has been extensively questioned this morning how so many people could vote for the alleged paedophile and now-defeated campaigner Alabama candidate Roy Moore. But those people didn’t vote for an alleged paedophile- they believed the accusations against Moore to be nothing more than a smear campaign.

Prevention is better than panacea. Due process is better than amendment. Who wants to be building the same kind of ” Dewey Defeats Truman” mistake in 2017? Or be responsible for the downfall of an 11 -year-old boy? We should be careful that in the move for entanglement transaction, we don’t end up car-crash reporting.


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