The pranksters filmed themselves faking murders and throwing cake at escalator passengers in front of stunned bystanders. According to police, the influencers “sowed terror” in order to increase their follower count.
One secretly recorded video showed a prankster chastising his wife for texting a heart symbol to someone before pretending to brutally murder her in front of a frightened taxi passenger. Another victim was riding on an escalator when he was splattered in the face with a cream pie, prompting him to chase the pranksters and violently toss his rucksack and shoes after them.
The police chief in Tehran accused the Instagram users of “playing on people’s nerves as well as the public’s peace and security.” He further claimed that the videos were shot without the necessary permissions. However, one of the accused pranksters told Iranian media that he had asked his victims for their permission before posting the videos online and that he had paid them $20 to compensate for any anguish. He stated that he was just trying to make people happy and grow his Instagram followers.
Police criticized the social media users for not knowing better, despite the fact that all 17 of those arrested had university degrees and worked for reputable companies. It’s unclear if the arrested individuals have been officially charged, which means they might still avoid prison time.
The arrests are part of a broader crackdown by Iranian authorities on social media use. Do you think these 17 people should be punished for what they did? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.