3 Ways Silicon Valley Social Media Profits Could Be Making Chicago Gangbangin’ More Efficient and Deadly

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Written by Ann Brown
Chicago gang
Here are three ways Silicon Valley social media profits could be making Chicago gangbangin’ more efficient and more deadly. Photo: Chief Keef seen at Interscope Records Pre Party at the W Hotel Hollywood on June 28, 2014, in Los Angeles, Calif. (Photo by Arnold Turner/Invision for Interscope Records/AP Images)/FBG: Instagram/Lil Jojo: YouTube

Back in the mid-’90s when the East Coast-West Coast beef was brewing in the hip-hop community, the print media fanned the flames.

Vibe magazine was accused of turning up the heat so much that deaths — Biggie and Tupac — followed. The magazines have been accused of fueling the fire for profits. Fans eager for insight on the beef bought more issues, and with the increase in readership, advertising shot up.

Now it seems social media is doing the same thing — profiting from hip-hop gang videos that have led to a string of murders, especially in Chicago.

The more hip-hop gang videos are viewed, the more revenue YouTube earns. While YouTube gets paid according to how much of an ad is viewed, ads are built into the video streaming. In 2017, YouTube reportedly earned $9 billion in advertising, according to Investopedia.

Gang-glorifying content doesn’t violate community standards, a YouTube official told the Boston Herald.

But YouTube’s violent criminal organizations policy states, “Content intended to praise, promote, or aid violent criminal organizations is not allowed on YouTube. These organizations are not allowed to use YouTube for any purpose, including recruitment.”

So how come gang-related music videos aren’t banned? YouTube does allow content that “includes harassment if the primary purpose is educational, documentary, scientific, or artistic in nature,” such as songs or music videos.

In 2019, more than 500 people were murdered in the Windy City. This is greater than far more populous cities such as New York and Los Angeles. Much of it is gang-violence related — there are now an estimated 70,000 gang members in Chicago, Wired reported.

The online gangosphere has so much influence on what happens in the streets that the Chicago police department now patrols social media. Gang enforcement officers in Chicago started looking closely at social media sites about three years ago, Wired reported.

Social media platforms including Google and Facebook, instead of curtailing the online gang presence, allowed the violent gangs to prosper on social media while labeling the Nation of Islam’s Minister Louis Farrakhan dangerous.

Here are three ways Silicon Valley social media profits could be making Chicago gangbangin’ more efficient and deadly.

Threat videos views reach millions

Earlier this week, Chicago hip-hop artist FBG Duck, 26, was fatally shot while shopping with two other people in an upscale area. His killers tracked him down from his social media posts.

Posts to social media about where we are or the places we visit aren’t harmless, as FBG Duck found out. It is believed he may have been tracked down by someone as he streamed live online.

Police believe the Aug. 4, 2020 murder of FBG Duck (real name, Carlton Weekly) was in retaliation for a recent threat video, in which he dissed dead members of rival Black Disciples gang. Weekly was said to be a member of Tookaville faction of Gangster Disciples, The Daily Mail reported. The video, “Dead Bitches,” got more than 4.2 million views.

While social media makes it easier the shout out threats, it also makes it more deadly to do so.

Deals made from online status

Chief Keef from Chicago’s South Side is considered the most successful of the city’s emerging “drill” sound hip-hop artists (so named for a slang term for shooting someone).

While under house arrest in 2019 for aiming a gun at a police officer, Keef uploaded some videos to YouTube that landed him an estimated $6-million deal with Interscope Records. 

Keef has a history of stirring up the gang hate. “The title of one of his early hits, ‘3hunna,’ is a nickname for the Black Disciples gang, and in the song, he maligns the Tooka gang, a crew affiliated with the enemy Gangster Disciples,” Wired reported.

Teen hip-hop artist Joseph “Lil JoJo” Coleman responded to one of Chief Keef’s videos, following it up with a video of him in the rival gang area. This all sparked retaliation.

JoJo was shot and killed on Sept. 4, 2012, in South Side, Chicago. His murder caused a round of back-and-forth retaliation killings.

“This retaliation is not just about gang members. It’s about the collateral damage. These are not marksmen,” Tamar Manasseh, founder of anti-violence group Mothers Against Senseless Killings Chicago,” told Block Club Chicago.

And the violence the hip-hop artists brag about online gain them increased popularity.

“Look at social media and see what they are saying because if they are confessing to murders on YouTube, why should you not arrest them?” Manasseh said. “They don’t need any more time. Because these shooters are like Hezbollah or Al Qaeda. They take responsibility for their shootings. That’s how they get their street cred. That’s how they get record deals. It’s almost like a job interview. The more people you kill, the bigger the target is that you kill, the more likely you are to get a record contract somewhere.”

Money and the Chicago online gangosphere

There are a number of online gang sites such as TheHoodUp.com and StreetGangs.com. On gang site message boards, gang members “openly swap tips and tricks: how much an ounce of weed is worth, how to bribe a cop or judge,” Wired reported.

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Then there are videos from Chicago gangs ChiTownBangn and Gang Bang City Ent. posted on YouTube that promote the gang life. They flash their signs and guns, even though they know the police are watching along with their fans.

These sites are popular — some get millions of views — especially the videos. High views mean more money for social media.

Social media ad spending amounted to more than $89 billion in 2019, Sprout Social reported. It is expected that this ad spend will see an annual growth rate of 8.7 percent and will likely reach $102 billion by 2020.

Fans follow everything famed gang member and gang-affiliated hip=hop stars do and post on social media.

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