'Performance crime' on social media increasing in popularity

"Performance crime" on social media has become an increasing trend / Shannon Lilly (WGXA)

MACON, Ga. -- Social media and livestreaming makes it possible to reach an audience at the click of a button but that isn't always a good thing.

Around the nation, people have committed crimes and even harming themselves and broadcast it across social media.

Matthew Michael, a social expert at M&R Marketing said the viral nature of social media can lead to an added ego boost from criminals looking for attention out of crimes.

"Just the viral nature of social media in general just kind of gives them the, just the added ego of being able to draw a larger audience for what they're doing," Michael said.

He calls it "performance crime."

Michael said social media helps develop trends, meaning if someone watches a crime over livestream, they may be more inclined to copy it.

"Typically what draws that audience is something that has some type of a shock value," Michael said. "And you can tell that that's what's being done here, especially with Facebook Live, is you can come in and it's almost like a video game. It doesn't feel real."

And it isn't just crime being spread live. Some people have ended their own lives in front of a live audience.

Captain Shermaine Jones with the Bibb County Sheriff's Office said although the performance crimes and suicides may not feel real while watching from a screen, they are.

"The younger generation tends to use social media like a television, so instead of thinking what's happening is actually causing harm for somebody, they're just watching it as if it's a TV show, and they can just turn it off, turn it back on," Jones said.

He recommends that parents keep on eye on their children's social media.

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