Why do some social media influencers insist on posting provocative content?

WHY is it that some social media users have the seemingly compulsive urge to post controversial content in an attempt to generate views, shares and likes? It would appear that some are even willing to risk public censure or even jail for a slice of online infamy.

This was most certainly the case of Indonesian TikTok user Lina Lutfiawati who has been sentenced to two year’s jail for posting a video where she uttered an Islamic phrase before consuming pork.

According to the BBC, Lutfiawati was found guilty by an Indonesian court of “inciting hatred” against religious individuals and groups.

The 33-year-old businesswoman and social media influencer who has over two million followers was also fined an equivalent of RM75,904. Her jail term may be extended by three months if she does not pay up.

In March, she posted a video where she uttered “Bismillah” – an Arabic phrase that means “in the name of God” – before eating crispy pork skin.

At the time, she was travelling in Bali, a tourist hotspot in Indonesia that – unlike the rest of the country – has a majority Hindu population. Lutfiawati said she tried pork out of curiosity.

The video garnered millions of views and was widely criticised, prompting another Indonesian to report her to the police for “knowingly eating pork skin as a Muslim”.

The Indonesian police had charged Lutfiawati in May for disseminating hateful information, saying it was an act of hostility over ethnicity, religion and race.

Many conservative groups across the country also issued rulings calling the video blasphemous. They included the Ulema Council, Indonesia’s top Muslim clerical body.

One would surmise a similar response here if a Malaysian Muslim were to carry out a similar stunt.  Before anyone here is foolish enough to try, please bear in mind that the uproar would be considerable with JAKIM (Department of Islamic Development Malaysia) most likely leading the way in calling for stern action.

Surely, it makes no sense to stir a hornet’s nest just to accumulate social media followers. Forget the larger issue of personal choice and individual liberties.

Malaysians must bear in mind the religious sensitivities of their brethren and avoid flagrantly inciting anger with irresponsible posts. Simply put, it just wouldn’t be worth the furore and backlash – not to mention the harm it would create to an already fractured society. – Sept 25, 2023

Main pic credit: Kaumudi Online

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