Cameron Herrin was sent to prison because of a crash he caused in Tampa in which some people died and get seriously injured. Cameron Herrin killed a mother and daughter in that accident after speeding up his car on Bayshore Boulevard, and after his case judgment was announced he has sentenced to imprisonment for 24 years, he has been regularly trending on TikTok and other social media platforms and his supporters had suspended Twitter.
Tampa’s Cameron Herrin was sentenced to 24 years imprisonment and his 24-year sentence for vehicular homicide which he caused began in April. In early July, a storm on social media came from an army of hundreds and thousands of social media accounts from the other side of the world who were releasing a digital deluge on anyone who was involved with Cameron Herrin and his case.
Comments either tagging “Cameron Herrin” or “justice for Cameron” flooded the Twitter, Instagram, Facebook pages, and many other social media platforms of the 13th Circuit Court situated in the Hillsborough County state attorney Andrew Warren, the Florida Department of Corrections, the Tampa Bay Times and many local TV news stations. These comments were tagging the governor, the president, and Oprah to further look into the Cameron Herrin case and then reduce the 24 years imprisonment of Cameron Herrin.
Many of these comments appeared to be from the Middle East, posted in a mixed language including some words from English and some from Arabic language. These comments contained heart emojis, broken heart emojis, and the videos of Cameron Herrin reacting to his imprisonment on Britney Spears’ Criminal. They posted several personal photos of Cameron Herrin dating back to middle school, and fan art of Cameron Herrin containing him as an anime character.
And while the wording of comments was often grammatically confounding, the message that the comments were trying to spread was very clear: In the accident unfortunately death of Jessica Reisinger-Raubenolt and her 21-month-old daughter occur which was very tragic, but the imprisonment of 24 years to Cameron Herrin was also an unfair decision for Herrin, as he was only 18 years old at the time that horrific accident. And thus many people were outraged by the decision of his 24 years of imprisonment.
By the beginning of August, there were around more than 100,000 tweets about Cameron Herrin and his 24 years imprisonment, which were possibly far more, with a new tweet coming every 30 seconds. The TikTok app, which is a widely popular social media platform for short videos, had videos related to Cameron Herrin and his imprisonment and these videos had around 1.7 billion views.
observers, it seemed Cameron Herrin, who was now 21 years old, had a large number of national and international supporters who were calling for a shorter sentence for the crime that he committed at such a small age. Experts who study the false information which is floating online saw some similarities to paid influence campaigns that were generated using fake accounts. The actual reality falls somewhere in between, but offline, the activity was real and had a real-world effect on Cameron Herrin’s family, his victim’s family, and Cameron Herrin himself.
It was for people like “almost having an obsession, that to an unhealthy obsession,” quoted Cameron Herrin’s mother. In one of her interviews, she also said that some of the supporters who were having an interest in her son’s case were genuine. She knows that there are some real people involved because many of them offered to call her to their homes and they were from Middle Eastern countries and that too in the middle of the night.
According to Shelby Grossman who works at the Stanford Internet Observatory having knowledge about the tactics of shady digital marketing companies in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt, according to him most of the tweets were from such Twitter accounts which were used to pose as everyday people to spread about everything and anything from political propaganda or issues to positive sentiment for Dunkin coffee or negative.
According to Cameron Herrin’s mother, she once said that the Twitter activity around his son Cameron Herrin’s case seems to involve a mix of people having an authentic opinion about Cameron Herrin’s imprisonment that it was too harsh and many suspicious accounts were strongly resembling those accounts which were used by the Middle East digital marketing companies.
Many of the accounts which were in favor of Cameron Herrin were the accounts that had years of gaps between the frequency of their tweets, so she said, “ according to her they may have deleted their old tweets to hide the purpose of their accounts.” Some accounts shifted from tweeting about politics, K-pop music, or their group BTS, to exclusively tweeting about the Cameron Herrin case. It may be possible that they first wanted to build a large following by posting about high-interest topics and then about Cameron Herring to look authentic.
Grossman said some of the accounts were having profile photos of faces that were generated using artificial intelligence technology.
Twitter had recently carried out an activity in which they suspended around 900 accounts that posted about the Cameron Herrin case because these accounts had caused various violations of the company’s platform according to their manipulation and spam policy, resulting in the taking down of more than 90,000 tweets. A spokesperson said that the company is still undergoing an active investigation of the situation, and will post more about the results publicly once the investigation is complete from their end. Cameron Herrin had been already sent to imprisonment by the court. It is very unlikely because of a social media outburst that the court will change its judgment or the social media activity would have any impact on the case result because an outburst from non-citizens of the country, who can’t vote carry very less weight in front of the judges of the court.
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