The dangerous mania of seeking for views on social media

The rise of social media and the ability to garner fame and money by increasing the number of people who visit your site is leading to dangerous levels of escalation, as ever more outrageous things are done to garner views. We now have the example of someone who deliberately crashed a small plane and filmed it in order to go viral.

Trevor Jacob, 29, faces up to 20 years in federal prison after he purposely destroyed the wreckage of the small single-engine plane that he crashed in California’s Los Padres national forest in 2021, according to a statement from the US attorney’s office.

Jacob, who parachuted out of the plane before it crashed, uploaded a video to YouTube documenting the incident. He initially told investigators that his plane lost power and that he did not know where the wreck was. But his story drew doubts from aviation experts and federal authorities. They later found that Jacob made no attempt to call air traffic control, restart his engine or search for a safe place to land.

Prior to taking off on 24 November 2021, Jacob mounted several video cameras on different parts of the plane and equipped himself with a parachute, video camera and selfie stick, officials said. About 35 minutes into the flight, he jumped from the plane and began filming the aircraft as it plunged into the dry brush below. Once he touched ground, he hiked to the crash site and retrieved the footage from the crash.

On 10 December 2021, however, Jacob and a friend flew to the crash site and towed the crashed plane to Santa Barbara county, where Jacob put it in a hangar. Over several days, he destroyed sections of the plane and placed the parts in trash cans around the airport and elsewhere, which authorities say he admitted to doing in order to mislead investigators.

The sheer recklessness of the act is appalling. While he may have targeted a remote area for the crash, you can never know from the air if someone might be down there who could get hurt or killed.

He got what he wanted and that was three million views of the crash. He will now have to think about whether it was worth a possible 20 years in prison.


  1. nifty says

    Not to mention the incredibly high probability of starting a fire in a very fire prone environment, as the quoted story mentions, “dry brush”. Lucky he is not facing the fees for fire fighting to go along with his other problems.

  2. jrkrideau says

    @ 1 nifty

    Not to mention the incredibly high probability of starting a fire in a very fire prone environment

    My first thought. What an irresponsible idiot.

  3. rupert says

    I presume most of us on here are not so green behind the ears as to still believe that people do not do silly things. Unfortunately they always will no matter how much we state that they shouldn’t.

  4. birgerjohansson says

    Maybe we should encourage such people to emulate the stunts you once could see on MTV’ s “Jackass” and let the Darwin Award take its toll?

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