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Tesla crash sparks police hunt for social media influencers involved in stunt – Global News

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Los Angeles police have launched an investigation into social media influencer Durte Dom after he took credit for a dangerous viral stunt that saw a Tesla fly over the crest of a hill and crash into parked cars.

The LAPD’s central traffic division posted a $1,000 reward for information regarding the incident on Sunday evening, but later that night asked the public to stop reporting Dominykas Zeglaitis — who goes by Durte Dom on social media — after getting a deluge of reports.

They said in the tweet that the influencer is “considered a person of interest based on the public postings on his account.”

Zeglaitis claimed that he was the one behind the wheel of the Tesla that night, when the car flew through the air and nearly flipped over its own hood before crashing into trash cans and two vehicles. Pieces of the car can be seen shattering off its front as it made impact with the road.

The video has since been deleted from Zeglaitis’s TikTok account but NBC reports that it showed the vlogger behind the wheel of a car before cutting to a shot of the Tesla launching over the Baxter Street hill in L.A.’s Echo Park. The video reportedly had 11 million views before it was removed.

“I just crashed my new Tesla,” read text that he superimposed over the video.

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The Tesla, which was a rented vehicle, was abandoned at the site of the crash. Police are investigating the stunt as a misdemeanour hit-and-run.

The LAPD said 90 per cent of tips they received that night were about Zeglaitis, but the others were about car YouTubers Alex Choi and Chaz Warren, who goes by the handle “chazzydawg.”

Police are also looking into these two influencers as videos of the stunt appear to show them as witnesses to the crash.

Choi took to his Instagram story, however, to deny Zeglaitis’ claims that he drove the Tesla in the video, or was even present.

“DURTE DOM DID NOT JUMP THE TESLA,” he wrote. “Not sure why he’s lying to everyone and saying he did … I was there, saw everything and he wasn’t even there.”

Zeglaitis followed up his initial video, claiming to be the driver, with even more TikToks that have since been removed.

In one, Zeglaitis asserts he was intoxicated while performing the stunt. In another, he plays N.W.A’s F–k Tha Police in the background and wrote, “LAPD didn’t like my stunt.” He also shared a news clip of the crash with the caption, “look mom i’m famous.”

Jordan Hook, the owner of one of the vehicles that was crashed into on Sunday evening, currently has a GoFundMe page up to help him cover the damages to his Subaru.

As of publication time, Hook has raised just under $17,000. The largest donation, at $2,000, came from an account under the name Alex Choi — though we cannot independently verify that it is the same Alex Choi who witnessed the crash.

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On the GoFundMe page, Hook says he is a local musician who was awoken by the sound of the Tesla crashing into his car.

“People were scrambling out of the crashed Tesla, grabbing their phones and cat (which apparently was in the car when it jumped) and getting into other Teslas that were all at this point clogging up the street. Then they just took off,” he wrote.

The Baxter Street hill, where the crash took place, has been the site of other dangerous social media stunts — and police are talking to the Department of Transportation about installing speed bumps at the location.

David Dobrik, whose internet famous ‘Vlog Squad’ used to include Zeglaitis, filmed a similar video at the spot.

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In the video, two motorbikes are seen gaining air off the hill before an influencer in Dobrik’s Vlog Squad attempts it in Dobrik’s own Tesla SUV. The car wasn’t going as fast as the Tesla involved in Sunday’s crash, but it still flew off the ground as it crested the hill.

Dobrik, the leader of the Vlog Squad, has come under fire in the past for using the unbalanced power dynamics within the group to put his friends in dangerous and uncomfortable situations in the name of entertainment.

When Zeglaitis was part of the Vlog Squad, allegations surfaced that he sexually assaulted a woman who was too drunk to consent to sex. The contents of that night were part of one of Dobrik’s vlogs, and other influencers present joked about the situation as it unfolded.

Zeglaitis responded in a YouTube video saying he believed the encounter to be consensual but admitted his accuser was intoxicated.

A few months later, two more women came forward with accusations of sexual misconduct perpetrated by Zeglaitis. While Zeglaitis has not directly addressed these allegations, in 2017 he apologized for aggressively pursuing women who he left unnamed.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Social Media Increasingly Linked With Mass Shootings – Forbes

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On Wednesday, authorities in Texas identified Salvador Ramos as the 18-year-old shooter who had opened fire in Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Ramos, who had killed at least 19 students and two teachers during his shooting spree on Tuesday, had allegedly posted disturbing images online prior to carrying out the senseless attack.

According to reports, an Instagram account allegedly connected to Ramos featured disturbing photos. That account has since been taken down.

It was just last week that New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, announced that her office was investigating social media companies after another mass shooter had used the online platforms to plan, promote and stream a massacre in a Buffalo grocery store that left 10 dead. James said her office would investigate Twitch, 4chan, 8chan and Discord along with other platforms that the shooter used to amplify the attack.

Many are asking if warning signs were missed.

“It is impossible to prevent people from making threats online,” explained William V. Pelfrey, Jr., Ph.D., professor in the Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Yet he suggested that social media organizations do have a moral responsibility to identify and remove threatening messaging.

“They are generally abysmal at this task. Direct threats (i.e. I want to shoot the President, I want to kill myself) frequently are flagged and investigated. Indirect threats are much harder to identify and rarely receive any attention,” Pelfrey continued. “Many social media companies will need to make decisions – protect individual’s rights to make oblique threats or protect safety. Compromising freedom of speech seems abhorrent until we weigh that compromise against the lives lost in Buffalo or the many other places where radicalized violent extremists found their motivation to kill.”

The Anti-Social Networks

As the United States remains very much in what President Joe Biden has identified as an “Uncivil War,” where the country remains so politically divided, the platforms that were once about friendly discussions have evolved very much into “anti-social networks” where people now find themselves in echo chambers that support their opinion and views.

“Social media has compounded a growing racial, cultural and gender divide in America and the world,” explained Anthony Silard, professor at the Luiss Business School, Rome, and the author of The Art of Living Free in the Digital Age.

Social media has enabled the actions of extremists to be live-streamed to the masses.

“One facet of the Buffalo shooting that is critical for understanding its conception and operation is that it was not the work of one person,” added Silard. “The shooter brought his thought community with him via live stream. They were poised and ready to send out the horrific imagery of innocent people being slaughtered before the social media site, Twitch, could take it down, in an impressive two minutes. They succeeded, yet millions watched from the comfort of their screens.

“With his thought community virtually present and at the ready, the shooter felt less alone and propped up by the hate-imbued ideology of his group,” Silard added. “Herein lies an important point for lawmakers to consider about the role of social media in this tragedy: it enabled rapid, collective action by a hate group.”

Lack Of Empathy

Social media has also been seen as responsible in lowering the empathy of most Americans. It is easy to “speak your mind” about someone on social media based on a tweet they made or something they posted on Facebook. Even like-minded individuals with similar interests can find themselves in serious flare ups that turn hostile.

This has been common with email, posts on Newsgroups and online forums, but has increased significantly in the era of social media.

“One of the primary reasons social media has become so dangerous to a healthy society is that it erodes empathy. The reason town hall meetings became a healthy medium for cross-aisle conversations is that people had to listen to each other, even when they disagreed,” said Silard.”Now that these conversations have gone online, empathy has fallen to the wayside. A recent meta-analysis of seventy-two studies conducted between 1979 and 2009, for instance, found that the empathy levels of American college students have dropped 40 percent, which the authors primarily attribute to the rise of social media.”

The social media platforms have largely failed to address the issue, and in some cases it has only served to radicalize individuals, such as the recent mass shooters.

“Social media companies like Facebook promised us that its services would encourage people to care more for each other and express their authentic views more both online and in person. None of this has happened,” warned Silard. “Instead, recent Pew research has found that people speak up less in person now for fear of retribution. Why? Social media has helped them realize there are many opposing views out there they would prefer not to confront.”

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Media Advisory: Premier Furey to Announce Additional Measures to Help Residents with the Cost of Living – News Releases – Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

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The Honourable Andrew Furey, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Honourable Siobhan Coady, Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance, and the Honourable Bernard Davis, Minister Responsible for Labour, will announce additional measures today (Thursday, May 26) to help Newfoundlanders and Labradorians with the cost of living. The event takes place at 1:00 p.m. in the Media Centre, East Block, Confederation Building.

The announcement will be livestreamed on Facebook.

– 30 –

Media contacts
Meghan McCabe
Office of the Premier
709-729-3960
meghanmccabe@gov.nl.ca

Victoria Barbour
Finance
709-729-4087, 327-6152
victoriabarbour@gov.nl.ca

Lynn Robinson
Environment and Climate Change
709-729-5449, 691-9466
lynnrobinson@gov.nl.ca

2022 05 26
11:10 am

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Ideon Media announces exclusive Canadian partnership with VICE Media Group – GlobeNewswire

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TORONTO, May 25, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Ideon Media announced today it will serve as the exclusive ad sales and branded content development partner for VICE Media Group (VMG), the world’s largest independent youth media group, in Canada. VMG digital properties, which include VICE.com, and Refinery29.com, reach a combined 13.3 million unique visitors in Canada per month across all platforms (GAR, GWL, Comscore, VICE Census).

The new partnership will see Ideon Media exclusively represent the commercial activity of  VICE.com and Refinery29.com in Canada to brands and advertisers. This includes the sale of media advertising and sponsorships, production of branded content as well as affiliate advertising and commissions.

“VICE leaves an indelible mark on the public discourse, with impressive in-depth reporting and authentic storytelling that resonates worldwide. We’re so proud to represent VICE in Canada, and so flattered that Ideon has been given full latitude to help Canadian advertisers tell their stories on platforms like VICE and Refinery29 using Canadian talent and creators,” said Kevin Bartus, Ideon Media President and CEO.

“VICE is a true Canadian media success story, and has always been the gold standard for integrated campaigns targeting the youth demographic, and I am thrilled to be working with the company again. From best-in-class branded content, to incredible brand-sponsored events, and even cutting-edge proprietary digital ad products; VICE and Refinery29 allow brands to reach a huge Canadian audience of highly influential Gen-Z and Millennial young people in authentic and meaningful ways,” said Shawn Phelan, Vice President of Brand Partnerships, Ideon Media.

“I am delighted to be partnering with Kevin, Shawn and the team at Ideon in Canada to drive future growth across our publishing business. Our shared passion for the VICE brands, storytelling, breakthrough content solutions and our audiences will allow us to realise our ambitious growth targets in the market and to forge new opportunities with brands and advertisers,” said Luke Barnes, Chief Revenue Officer and Chief Digital Officer, EMEA, VICE Media Group.

ABOUT VICE MEDIA GROUP
VICE Media Group is the world’s largest independent youth media company. Launched in 1994, VICE has offices across 25 countries across the globe with a focus on five key businesses: VICE.com, an award-winning international network of digital content; VICE STUDIOS, a feature film and television production studio; VICE TV, an Emmy-winning international television network; a Peabody award winning NEWS division with the most Emmy-awarded nightly news broadcast; and VIRTUE, a global, full-service creative agency. VICE Media Group’s portfolio includes Refinery29, the leading global media and entertainment company focused on women; PULSE Films, a London-based next-generation production studio with outposts in Los Angeles, New York, Paris and Berlin; and i-D, a global digital and bimonthly magazine defining fashion and contemporary culture and design.

ABOUT IDEON MEDIA (www.ideonmedia.com)
Ideon Media is a Toronto-based digital firm that offers a wide spectrum of advertiser solutions with best-in-class publisher representation and wholly owned and operated sites, including SavvyMom.ca and 29Secrets.com. Ideon specializes in custom content programs created by our award-winning in-house editorial team, influencer programs, events, performance network, proprietary data, and analytics. Ideon Media reaches a combined total of 18.6 million Canadians (Comscore, March 2022).

For more information or interview requests: Shawn Phelan at shawn.phelan@ideonmedia.com

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