Jonnifer Neal wasn’t expecting any drama when she bought her Kia. However, he also did not expect that the same Kia would be stolen three times in one month. According to a recent AP News article, Neal has now joined the thousands of carjacking victims across the country, simply because the type of vehicle he owns is the target of a viral trend on social media.
Neal’s Kia was first stolen directly from her home in Chicago, and the second carjacking took place outside the auto shop where she had previously taken it for repairs. However, after the authorities recovered her car a month later, the police regularly stopped her due to the mistake that she still had the vehicle reported stolen. Now, Neal is terrified of what might happen every time he steps inside his beloved Kia.
His story is just one of, sadly, thousands of stories from Kia and Hyundai owners in major cities who have faced an irregular volume of theft and damage to their specific vehicles over the last two and a half years. Who is to blame for this? Well, some people would blame social media platforms like TikTok for taking this trend and exploiting it.
Kia Boys made the rounds at the apartment tonight. She had a camera on them, but she couldn’t make out facial features or the car they were getting away in.@RochesterNYPD he showed up about a minute too late, though they may have also been the one to scare them into running. #ROC pic.twitter.com/s8IpWw7plR
— Barely Controlled Opposition (@BarelyControllD) May 17, 2023
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The rise in theft has been largely attributed to viral social media trends originating from TikTok, where criminally minded individuals have been watching tutorials on how to use USB cables and other simple tools to exploit security flaws found in Kias and Hyundais.
Unfortunately, thefts have continued to skyrocket across the country despite the efforts of the two manufacturers to work with various social media platforms to try and remove these videos. However, as new videos continue to appear from city to city, there always seems to be a wave of new robberies thanks to the attention of teenagers trying to achieve internet stardom for horrible behavior.
Authorities have labeled this specific form of behavior “acting crime,” in which a viral trend on social media promoting criminal activity convinces teens to go out and try to do the exact same thing. Teenagers are almost always to blame, as several major police departments from Milwaukee to Chicago to New York have determined.
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god save my kia
In order to crack down on this problem, attorneys general from 17 different states have issued official calls for the mandatory recall of the specific vehicles targeted by these social media-inspired criminals, claiming that voluntary software updates that car manufacturers have offered to owners is simply not enough.
Cities like Baltimore, Milwaukee and New York have even gone so far as to threaten legal action against Kia and Hyundai. Oh, and remember Jonnifer Neal? He is currently filing a civil lawsuit against Kia, as are many owners who are slapping the brands with large class action lawsuits, some of which have settled for more than $200 million.
Due to this madness originating in social networks, the National Highway and Safety Administration has concluded that this trend is responsible for at least 14 car accidents and eight deaths, although the lawyers representing the victims linked to these crimes of “Kia Boy” believe the numbers could be even higher if more research were done.
TikTok has attempted to remove certain videos providing tutorials, as well as accounts uploading stolen car rides. The Chinese-owned video app claims that the media is, in fact, what drives people to watch those videos, and that the craze doesn’t necessarily start because a video just loads. Experts have pointed to the challenge of tracing the origins of trends as content spreads so quickly on other platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and even Twitter.
What do you think about this crazy trend on social media? Let us know in the comments below and on social media.
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